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Galatians -- The Magna Carta of Christian Liberty

Galatians 1:1-24  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Gospel authority, focus, and power

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Intro: The book of Galatians is sometimes called “The Magna Carta of Christian Liberty.” It is called this because the reformers in the 16th century used this book especially to show that salvation is by faith alone. It is my prayer that today and through the weeks to come you may experience for yourself the freedom that this book and its truths communicates.
Gal
Galatians 1:1–23 ESV
1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: 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, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 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. 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. 10 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. 11 For 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. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And 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. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But 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. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”

Scripture’s Authority (vs. 1)

Scripture’s Authority (vs. 1)

Paul identifies himself as an apostle. An apostle is someone who was specifically chosen by the Lord Jesus. This person is set aside to be used by God in a special way. Paul received such a call (). I do not identify myself as an apostle. I do believe the Lord has called me and set me apart for a special work, but the work God has called me to is that of a pastor, a shepherd, an overseer. What is the difference? The difference is in the degree of authority we each possess. A pastor possesses a spiritual authority, but he possesses it only in as much as he preaches, teaches, and upholds the Word of God. An apostle carries an authority weightier than this.
Galatians 1:1 ESV
1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—
As you read through the N.T. you will see that “The primary function of the apostles was witness to Christ, and the witness was rooted in years of intimate knowledge, dearly bought experience and intensive training.”1
Paul identifies himself as an apostle. An apostle is someone who was specifically chosen by the Lord Jesus. This person is set aside to be used by God in a special way. Paul received such a call ().
Paul identifies himself as an apostle. An apostle is someone who was specifically chosen by the Lord Jesus. This person is set aside to be used by God in a special way. Paul received such a call ().
1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— Paul identifies himself as an apostle. An apostle is someone who was specifically chosen by the Lord Jesus. This person is set aside to be used by God in a special way. Paul received such a call (). I do not identify myself as an apostle. I do believe the Lord has called me and set me apart for a special work, but the work God has called me to is that of a pastor, a shepherd, an overseer. What is the difference? The difference is in the degree of authority we each possess. A pastor possesses a spiritual authority, but he possesses it only in as much as he preaches, teaches, and upholds the Word of God. An apostle carries an authority weightier than this. As you read through the N.T. you will see that “The primary function of the apostles was witness to Christ, and the witness was rooted in years of intimate knowledge, dearly bought experience and intensive training.”1That is an authority of an apostle. Apostles performed mighty works similar to that of Jesus. I do still believe that miracles are performed still today, but I have never encountered someone in this world today who performs miracles like Jesus, or His apostles. Jesus and His apostles, both healed the sick, cast out demons, opened the eyes of the blind, healed the legs of the lame, and even raised the dead. And they did it whenever they pleased. They did it often, they did it without fail. I do not see that sort of authority in the world today, but I do think it will happen again. It will happen whenever God sees fit for it to happen, probably in the very last days. The point is this. We are reading the words of Christ’s apostle, let’s give it the respect and authority it deserves.
That is an authority of an apostle. Apostles performed mighty works similar to that of Jesus. I do still believe that miracles are performed still today, but I have never encountered someone in this world today who performs miracles like Jesus, or His apostles. Jesus and His apostles, both healed the sick, cast out demons, opened the eyes of the blind, healed the legs of the lame, and even raised the dead. And they did it whenever they pleased. They did it often, they did it without fail. I do not see that sort of authority in the world today, but I do think it will happen again. It will happen whenever God sees fit for it to happen, probably in the very last days. The point is this. We are reading the words of Christ’s apostle, let’s give it the respect and authority it deserves.
I do not identify myself as an apostle. I do believe the Lord has called me and set me apart for a special work, but the work God has called me to is that of a pastor, a shepherd, an overseer. What is the difference? The difference is in the degree of authority we each possess. A pastor possesses a spiritual authority, but he possesses it only in as much as he preaches, teaches, and upholds the Word of God. An apostle carries an authority weightier than this. As you read through the N.T. you will see that
“The primary function of the apostles was witness to Christ, and the witness was rooted in years of intimate knowledge, dearly bought experience and intensive training.”1
1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— Paul identifies himself as an apostle. An apostle is someone who was specifically chosen by the Lord Jesus. This person is set aside to be used by God in a special way. Paul received such a call (). I do not identify myself as an apostle. I do believe the Lord has called me and set me apart for a special work, but the work God has called me to is that of a pastor, a shepherd, an overseer. What is the difference? The difference is in the degree of authority we each possess. A pastor possesses a spiritual authority, but he possesses it only in as much as he preaches, teaches, and upholds the Word of God. An apostle carries an authority weightier than this. As you read through the N.T. you will see that “The primary function of the apostles was witness to Christ, and the witness was rooted in years of intimate knowledge, dearly bought experience and intensive training.”1That is an authority of an apostle. Apostles performed mighty works similar to that of Jesus. I do still believe that miracles are performed still today, but I have never encountered someone in this world today who performs miracles like Jesus, or His apostles. Jesus and His apostles, both healed the sick, cast out demons, opened the eyes of the blind, healed the legs of the lame, and even raised the dead. And they did it whenever they pleased. They did it often, they did it without fail. I do not see that sort of authority in the world today, but I do think it will happen again. It will happen whenever God sees fit for it to happen, probably in the very last days. The point is this. We are reading the words of Christ’s apostle, let’s give it the respect and authority it deserves.
The authority of an apostle is that of having actually spent time personally with the Lord Jesus. Apostles perform mighty works similar to that of Jesus. I still believe that miracles are performed today, but I have never encountered someone in this world today who performs miracles like Jesus, or His apostles. Jesus and His apostles, both healed the sick, cast out demons, opened the eyes of the blind, healed the legs of the lame, and even raised the dead. And they did it whenever they were asked, sometimes without being asked. Additionally, and most importantly, it was the apostles who are responsible for giving us the New Testament. They were its authors or they were closely associated with its authors. tell us that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ is himself the chief cornerstone. We do not see that sort of authority in the world today, but I do think it will happen again in the very last days. Time will tell. The point is this: we are reading the words of Christ’s apostle, let’s give it the respect and authority it deserves.
Galatians 1:2–3 ESV
2 and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— Paul identifies himself as an apostle. An apostle is someone who was specifically chosen by the Lord Jesus. This person is set aside to be used by God in a special way. Paul received such a call (). I do not identify myself as an apostle. I do believe the Lord has called me and set me apart for a special work, but the work God has called me to is that of a pastor, a shepherd, an overseer. What is the difference? The difference is in the degree of authority we each possess. A pastor possesses a spiritual authority, but he possesses it only in as much as he preaches, teaches, and upholds the Word of God. An apostle carries an authority weightier than this. As you read through the N.T. you will see that “The primary function of the apostles was witness to Christ, and the witness was rooted in years of intimate knowledge, dearly bought experience and intensive training.”1That is an authority of an apostle. Apostles performed mighty works similar to that of Jesus. I do still believe that miracles are performed still today, but I have never encountered someone in this world today who performs miracles like Jesus, or His apostles. Jesus and His apostles, both healed the sick, cast out demons, opened the eyes of the blind, healed the legs of the lame, and even raised the dead. And they did it whenever they pleased. They did it often, they did it without fail. I do not see that sort of authority in the world today, but I do think it will happen again. It will happen whenever God sees fit for it to happen, probably in the very last days. The point is this. We are reading the words of Christ’s apostle, let’s give it the respect and authority it deserves.
Paul says that this letter is from him and from all the brothers who are with him. The letter is written to all of the churches in Galatia.
I love how Paul starts this letter off in verse 3. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you see what Paul desires for the churches in Galatia? He desires that they each be saturated with the supernatural grace and peace of God. If I could accomplish only one thing as your pastor I would desire that this body of believers be saturated with the Grace and Peace of God. Would you join me in praying for God’s grace and peace to flood this church?
Pray!
God’s grace and peace can clearly be seen in one specific act of love. That is exactly where Paul turns to in verse 4.
Galatians 1:4–5 ESV
4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul specifically reminds the churches of Jesus’ sacrificial work on the cross. That act of love is something we need reminded of. Do not forget about that act of love. Jesus Christ, literally died a brutal death on the cross so that you and I could be pardoned from our sins, so that we could be right with God, so that we could spend eternity in right relationship with God in heaven.
What is our right response for this act of love? vs 5 we are to give glory to God. How long? forever and ever. Amen.
The whole point of chapter one is that we need to remain focused on the Gospel.

Remain focused on the Gospel!

That truth is the main point of .
Galatians 1:6–8 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. 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.
Remain focused on the Gospel. Do you see what Paul says about someone who attempts to move on from the Gospel of Christ to a better, more improved gospel? Paul clearly says let them be accursed. That means, let them be sentenced to hell.
There is no better Gospel than that of Jesus Christ. If I entered this pulpit and preached to you a Gospel other than Jesus crucified and raised from the dead, let me be sentenced to hell. If Paul, somehow supernaturally appeared to you and preached to you a gospel other than Jesus dying for our sins and defeating death through the resurrection, then let Paul be sentenced to hell. And if, superanaturally, an angel from God descended from heaven, and in glory and splendor appeared before us today, but it preached a gospel different than Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, then let that angel be sentenced to hell.
This is serious. Never graduate from the gospel.
We live in a world that is always attempting to improve quality of life. There are so many gadgets and gizmos in this world today. All of them are meant to make life better. You can buy devices and put them in your house that you can speak to and they will tell you the weather. They can order a pizza for you if you ask it to. You can ask it to tell you a joke and it will attempt to make you laugh. Have you ever asked your smartphone why firetrucks are red? It is comical.
Here is the point. If we look hard enough we can find gadgets and gizmos in this world that will entertain us, but it doesn’t matter how hard your look, you will never find a better Gospel than the one we have.
Paul feels so strongly about this, that he repeats himself in verse 9
Galatians 1:9 ESV
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.
In verse 10, Paul spells out for us a very important truth of the Gospel.
Galatians 1:10 ESV
10 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.
Those who surrender their life to Jesus will live for God rather than man. This is a gospel truth.
If we each were honest, I think we all would confess that we have attempted to live our lives for the approval of mankind. We have even lived for the approval of mankind to the extent that we have forsaken God and how He has told us to live.
Paul confesses that at one time in his life he was living to please man rather than God. In verses 11-24 Paul talks about his conversion.
Galatians 1:11–24 ESV
11 For 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. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And 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. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But 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. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.
Because of the power of the Gospel Paul forsook his desire to please man so that he could live for God.

The Power of the Gospel Enables us to Live for Him!

In Christ, we are able to forsake man and live for God. Have you done that? Who are you living life for? Who are you trying to please with the ways you spend your days? Are you trying to impress those around you? Are you living for yourself, which is still a form of living for man rather than God? Or are you living life for God who is infinitely greater than any other purpose we could live for on this earth.
Dave Ramsey says “We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.”
But here is the good news of the Gospel. It can change anyone. It took this covetous, violent, spiritually blind man named Saul and turned him into the Apostle Paul. Paul wrote 13 books in the N.T. At one point in time he was murdering Christians, but then he encountered the risen Christ and now he is preaching the very gospel he worked so hard to destroy. The Gospel took this selfish, sin-loving person named Josh and turned me into a child of God who longs to please God more than any other. There isn’t anyone the Gospel can’t change. There isn’t anyone God can’t forgive. It doesn’t matter what you have done. It doesn’t matter what the sin is. Satan would love for you to believe the lie that God can’t forgive you, but in truth, there isn’t anyone in whom God’s grace and peace can’t touch.
We are in the thick of the holiday season. Some of you are going to go through this holiday season for the first time or the 10th time without a certain loved one. God wants you to know that His grace and peace is enough for you also. My encouragement to you is that Jesus is familiar with your hurt. On the cross, He took the pain of your separation upon Himself as He became the curse of sin. But because of His resurrection we have the hope of eternal life in paradise where ever tear will be wiped from our eyes; there will not be any more pain or suffering.
Illustrations for Biblical Preaching Salvation, Secure Comfort

C. H. Spurgeon is quoted as saying that he was so sure of his salvation that he could grab on to a cornstalk and swing out over the fires of hell, look into the face of the devil, and sing, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!”

When the storms of life, the winds of trouble, and the sea of discomfort and emotional agony seem to overwhelm, we have to say with the songwriter

C. H. Spurgeon is quoted as saying that he was so sure of his salvation that he could grab on to a cornstalk and swing out over the fires of hell, look into the face of the devil, and sing, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!”3
This is confidence in the Gospel. That is the power of the Gospel. When the storms of life come crashing in I pray we face those storms and we choose to sing and believe these lyrics:
Perfect submission, perfect delight, Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; Angels descending, bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, perfect delight, Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; Angels descending, bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest I in my Savior am happy and blessed Watching and waiting, looking above Filled with His goodness, lost in His love
1. A. F. Walls, “Apostle,” ed. D. R. W. Wood et al., New Bible Dictionary (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 58.
1. A. F. Walls, “Apostle,” ed. D. R. W. Wood et al., New Bible Dictionary (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 58.
2. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/25775-we-buy-things-we-don-t-need-with-money-we-don-t
3. Michael P. Green, ed., Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 Sermon Illustrations Arranged by Topic and Indexed Exhaustively, Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989).
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