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The Gospel

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Galatians 1:3-10 - The Gospel


“Waste Isolation Pilot Plant” in CARLSBAD, N.M,  =a cavernous salt mine that is the first geological lockbox for the "fiendishly toxic" detritus of nuclear weapons production: chemical sludge, lab gear and filters laced with tons of radioactive plutonium.

Plutonium remains deadly for 250,000 years

Communicating danger may seem relatively straightforward, but countless human efforts to bridge the ages have failed as societies fall, languages die and words become the indecipherable marks of a long-forgotten scribbler.

"No culture has ever tried, self-consciously and scientifically, to design a symbol that would last 10,000 years and still be intelligible," said David Givens, an anthropologist who helped plan the nuclear site warnings. "And even if we succeed, would the message be believed?"

Spending $9 billion on the waste dump, dubbed WIPP

Trying to communicate across 500 generations poses an unprecedented challenge of linguistics, semiotics and materials science, so the government first asked scientists, futurists and historians to envision what the far-distant future might be like.

To grasp the scale of the warnings, start with the Great Pyramid in Egypt, built from more than 6.5 million tons of stone covering 13 acres. Multiply that mass by five, and you have the first warning layer: a 98-foot-wide, 33-foot-tall, 2-mile-long berm surrounding the site. That's just to get the attention of anyone who happens by.

Powerful magnets and radar reflectors would be buried inside the berm so that remote sensors could recognize the site as purposefully and elaborately designed.

It would be surrounded by 48 granite or concrete markers, 32 outside the berm and 16 inside, each 25 feet high and weighing 105 tons, engraved with warnings in English, Spanish, Russian, French, Chinese, Arabic and Navajo, with room for future discoverers to add warnings in contemporary languages. Pictures would denote buried hazards and human faces of horror and revulsion.

The same symbols would be printed on metal, plastic and ceramic disks with abrasion-resistant coatings, 9 inches in diameter, that would be buried just below the surface.

1. What Is the Gospel? (v.3-5)

Keller: That God himself has come to rescue and renew creation through and in the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

Trajectory / Purpose = Rescue from the present evil age

New Heavens, New Earth

Means = Jesus gave himself for our sins, according to the will of our God and Father

             Sheer Grace, not by works

Piper:   The gospel is the good news that the privilege of getting right with God was purchased fully when Christ died for our sins and rose again and that the only way to enjoy this privilege is to live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us.

2.  The Pull of “Other” Gospels – In Paul’s Day

What happened in Galatia

A.  The “Other” Gospel of Faith + Works

Believe in Jesus + Jewish laws of Kosher & Circumcision

Gal 3:2-3         "I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"

!!! B. “Other” Gospels are “NO” Gospel At All (v.7)

John Piper:      If you add other requirements which encourage people to rely on their own willing or working, you torpedo the gospel. For if justification and sanctification are not by faith, they are not by anything and Christ has died in vain.

C.  The Right Stance in the face of False Gospels is to Publicly Reject Them (v.8-9)

Eternally Condemned = Anathema

Gal 2 – Paul Opposes Peter

Not “you broke the racism rule” but “you forgot the Gospel!”


"When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified."

(Galatians 2:14-16, NIV)

3.  The Pull of “Other” Gospels Today

A.  What False Gospels Do We Face Today?

1) Outside the Church

Tyra – Accept yourself

Oprah – Be spiritual

Jerry – Be controversial

2) Inside the Church

o       Main False Gospel is to make anything OTHER than Jesus Ultimate.

o       Including our own salvation

Is the Bible mostly about you and what you must do to be saved


Is the Bible mostly about Jesus


False Gospel is anything that sets up “Rules” instead of the Gospel

ILL – David & Goliath

Is it about “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”? You can face the giants in your life


Is every theme about Jesus Christ?

-          The Israelites can’t handle Goliath, they need divine intervention

-          God triumphs over Goliath not despite of the weakness of the substitute, or because of the weakness of the substitute

-          The victory of David is imputed to the Israelites, even though they didn’t do a thing

-          Jesus went against the Ultimate giant (Sin & Death)

o       You’ll never be like David unless you believe in the one David points us to

o       You can never deal with the giant of failure, until you see that Jesus dealt with the Giant for me.

Legalism = Be like David, don’t break the “be like David” rule

Grace / Gospel = Believe in Jesus

False Gospel = Judging People by Inner Rules or Script

ILL - Idol of “Nice”

"We must not suppose that if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world." (C.S. Lewis)

3) Inside Our Own Hearts

We create false / functional saviors

Then we create a false gospel

ILL = Lying – not lie just because I’m bad, but b/c of “fear of disapproval”

 False Saviors

1st Commandment (no other Gods before me) and the Gospel are the same thing.

-          Our sin = places where we don’t believe the Gospel

-          We take good things, and turn them into the Ultimate Thing

o       Being accepted by others

o       Getting ahead

We have to find out what that functional savior is:

  • if my son is healthy, well adjusted and loves me, then I’m worth-while
  • Harold Abrams (Chariots of Fire) “I have 10 Seconds to justify my existence.”
  • Rocky – I just want to go the distance, then I’ll know I’m not a bum

Whatever that “thing” is, is the main idol of our lives

We have to use the Gospel on it.

Sin = Building our self-worth on anything but God (Kierkegaard in Sickness Unto Death)

  • Those other things become false saviors
  • If we follow those saviors, and let them down, we’ve got nothing to fall back on

-          Your music, career, family, et al can’t die on the cross for you

If Sin = Breaking rules

today’s people will say “you have your rules, I have mine”

If Sin = Relying on anything but Jesus for self-worth, then we have their attention

4.  The Fighting Stance of a Gospel Church Today

A.  Stay Grounded

B.  Avoid Throwing Wild Punches

Blasphemy Challenge



C.  Constant Move Forward

"From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matthew 11:12, ESV)


Where don’t I believe the Gospel?

Where am I putting myself first?

How can I help myself realize that it’s all about Jesus?

Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.

Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.

Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.

Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.”

Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.

Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.

Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.

Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.

Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.

Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.

Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.

Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.

Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.

The Bible’s really not about you — it’s about him.

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