Untitled Sermon (11)
Well I’m excited to be coming back into our study of Galatians this week.
Having three weeks off was nice to say the least but I’m ready to get back into our study.
Having said that, I would like to open our time together by laying the same groundwork that the Apostle Paul laid.
As this letter began, Paul in essence set up a form of a mock court.
A mock trial if you will.
And inside of this courtroom, Paul is putting the Gospel on display in all of it’s fullness!
The question Paul is answering is who’s Gospel is this that He had brought to the Galatians?
Was it the Gospel given by the Lord Jesus Christ?
Or was it Paul’s own version of the Gospel that he somehow picked up?
If you’re paying attention, this is basically Paul’s second time in saying this in just a few short verses.
In the beginning of the Epistle Paul lays out that His Apostleship was from the Lord and not from men,
That was Verse 1.
Paul, an Apostle, not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead.
Notice there in the first verse his argument is pointing to a divine calling.
A calling into the service of the Lord that’s not governed by man or by man’s appointments.
Now not only is Paul showing the Galatians that this calling was from the Lord.
But he now moves his argument into the arena of asking who’s Gospel this was.
And in order for him to do this, he has to go into his conversion story.
Not only does he have to go into his conversion story but he’s going to cover his call and the ministry that he was involved with prior to working in Galatia.
This account from Paul begins here at 1:11 and runs all the way through 2:21.
One could say that this was his autobiography which gave an account of the life of Paul and the way Christ used Paul in ministry.
Through this journey we should be able to point to Jesus Christ and His atoning work at Calvary.
We should be able to Christ’ inner working in the heart of the Apostle.
Yet the one thing that we’re not able to do is to look at Paul and see a man who invented a Gospel.
And before we get too far into this text, I want to real quickly show you four ways that we know that this Gospel that Paul gave to them was true.
The Gospel that Paul proclaimed always pointed away from self and towards Christ Jesus.
Never once did Paul’s Gospel emphasize the obedience of man as being salvific but He always pointed back to Jesus’ obedience.
The core and fundamental message from the Apostle Paul was that all things look to Christ in some way.
Whether it’s looking at His atonement or His ascension.
His purpose was always to point others back to the message that came from Christ.
But that is not everyone else’s goal!
Many in the first century and the years that have followed have had ulterior motives.
Though they preach a form Christ, it is often times a false Gospel.
Yet in the first century I don’t think that we will find as many false gospels as what we see today.
In a general reading of Scripture the two most prominent false gospels that we find is the false Gospel of gnosticism and the false gospel legalism.
In our day and age I think we could stand here all day and discuss the false gospels of our time and we still couldn’t teach all of them before our second service.
However, even though there are what would appear to be many more false Gospels today.
I think the false gospels of our time find themselves rooted in the 2 false gospels of the first century in one way or another.
They are either pointing towards some form of a mystical Jesus which is found in Gnosticism.
Or they’re finding their roots in the idea of legalism.
Now you might be wondering how it is that I can make such a statement.
How is it I could take something as far fetched as the moral Gospel of our generation and point it back to this idea of a Gospel of legalism?
I want you to think about this for a second, the Gospel of legalism teaches a person that everything is about them.
Yes it’s works oriented but ultimately it points the person back to themselves.
And anytime that we’re focused on ourselves we can find some roots in moral law violations.
In this case, it stems from idolatry.
And that’s what you find in the moral Gospel of the day.
Think about this for a second.
How many of us in here have turned on our radios in our vehicle to a station like K-Love?
How Biblical are the songs?
They often times sound good.
Yet they are often times focused on the self.
Think about this for a minute.
Positive, encouraging K-Love.
It’s great to be positive and encouraging but if you miss the whole mark of the Gospel, you’ve encouraged someone in the wrong way.
In the theological world that idea is called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.
It teaches the person to be moral.
To live a good and upstanding life.
It acts as a form of therapy to the heart but it does so without the Gospel.
It points them to a creator without pointing them to THE CREATOR!
Now I’m not saying that every song that comes on their radio is bad so please don’t take it that way.
But I am asking you this question, when was the last time you heard the Biblical doctrine of the Gospel on there?
I used to listen to it for years and I still can’t tell you when the last time was that I heard the Gospel.
Now I’m not knocking the radio station, I’m knocking the message that’s promoted.
It promotes a gospel that tells you that sin has robbed you of your sense of fulness.
And in Christ’ death we find our worth and we can see our potential.
That’s not the Gospel.
The Gospel isn’t that through Christ you can be a better you.
That form of a gospel is man’s gospel.
It’s one that leads you into many erroneous errors.
As does every form of any Gospel that doesn’t come from the Lord Jesus Christ.
And that’s Paul’s point here.
Those Judiazers who crept into the Galatian Church were claiming that Paul was not only a false Apostle.
He was also not sharing the real Gospel Message.
In their eyes, Paul had traveled to and fro and even been in the midst of the “REAL” Apostles.
And by being in their midst he took the principles that he liked and abandoned the ones that he didn’t.
And when he began traveling and proclaiming this Gospel of his, he was espousing a Gospel that was centered upon mans understanding.
He was spreading a Gospel that was second hand if you will.
The problem though is that as Christians looking backward almost 2000 years, we can see that’s not the case.
Paul’s Gospel lined up with those other Apostles long before he ever really had the chance to sit down and to discuss the Gospel with them.
That is going to be the primary focus of today’s message.
But before we get there, I want to look at the other side of this issue.
The other side of this is that when man has the chance to make his own Gospel, it’s never motivated by grace.
It’s never dependent upon the full and Sovereign work of Jesus Christ.
Instead it’s dependent upon the individual.
The motivating factor inside of false Gospels are not centered around grace.
They’re centered upon the individual ability.
As we’ve stated before, man took Jesus as the starting block and then built upon it something of their own desire.
Yet this isn’t their only issue.
The other problem that we’ll encounter is that the Judiazers taught that the message of the Gospel had to be learned.
The problem with this whole thing inside of the Judiazers thoughts and their message though was not just that it centered around men learning from one another.
No that’s not even the fulness of the issue.
The fulness of the issue is that they were dependent upon men teaching other men this message of the Gospel.
There was no place for the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to kick down the idolatrous and stoney heart and replace it with a heart made of flesh.
No that couldn’t be in their message at all.
Their idea was that the individual had to be taught the Gospel and through their actions are given their gospel.
But thats no Gospel at all.
There’s no good news in that.
Any Gospel that is not solely focused upon the Lord Jesus Christ and dependent upon Him to reveal that message to His people is not a Gospel.
Yes there will be a time of teaching and that teaching will take place from the day of redemption unto that believers last breath where they head into eternity.
But no matter how hard you try, if you do not have a heart made new through the real Gospel it doesn’t matter.
You cannot be taught how to be a good Christian.
You cannot be taught how to love God without a heart set apart for Him.
You cannot be taught how to live the Gospel without first being impacted by the Gospel.
Just as a side note.
And it’s the cultivation of the Gospel in your own life that helps you to live the Gospel.
This is my issue with decisional regeneration.
That idea of asking Jesus to come into your heart as the modern people would say it.
Salvation is a Sovereign work.
And if the soul of the individual is not brought to life by Christ, there can be no conversion.
You cannot teach people into the kingdom of God.
They must be brought into His kingdom through His work.
There can be external change and even have people living a better life.
But if the Lord has not quickened the heart of the person it’s pointless.
Because this Gospel message that Paul was given cannot be learned.
Not in the salvific sense.
But that’s not what these Judiazers were saying.
They had this idea that a person could be taught the Gospel.
However, as we shall see, Paul is getting ready to both obliterate this idea.
I want to lay out 3 points of thinking for us today as we begin to unfold just how it is that this text should impact our daily life.
Number one is one we have already covered here so I’m not going to go back through it to much.
Paul’s Gospel was the Biblical Gospel!
It was not a Gospel that elevated man but it was a Gospel that brought the fullness Christ’ glory to forefront of everything and truly put Him on display.
That sweet and marvelous Gospel which shows us that Christ on our behalf took the punishment that we deserve.
There is nothing left for us to do.
It is completely finished.
There is some disagreement on verse 12 surrounding the idea of Paul not receiving the Gospel from any man.
There are scholars who make the claim that it would have been impossible for Paul not to know the Gospel prior to his Damascus Road experience.
Their claim is that Paul through his time persecution of the Church would have heard the Gospel.
And in a sense that would be correct.
Think about the stoning of Stephen in .
There is no way that a person could read through everything that Stephen was saying and not hear the Gospel.
In 6:14 the Pharisees make this clear when they said that Stephen had told them that Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the synagogue and change the customs that Moses delivered to them.
There is no question that Paul having his pedigree and the desire to persecute anyone he believed to be preaching Christ had never heard the Gospel.
It’s obvious to anyone reading through Acts that Paul had heard the Gospel.
When he stood in judgment and gave condemning votes against Christians so that they may be put to death, Paul had heard what they said.
He was far from an ignorant man.
The issue is not whether he had ever heard the Gospel prior to his conversion.
The issue is that the Gospel that he had heard of had made no change in His life.
The Lord of all the universe had never applied the Gospel to the heart of Paul.
How familiar is this for us?
I have to ask the question here, I wonder how often this is the case today?
I can think of conversation after conversation with a guy who I used to be friends with that is an atheist.
This guy could very easily put to shame many so called Bible scholars.
He knew the Bible from front to back.
He could quote doctrine correctly from scripture in pretty profound ways.
In fact, it was this guy who defended an argument I was having with someone else over the Doctrines of Grace.
Basically this guy was a Calvinistic Atheist.
He had all this head knowledge and had heard the Gospel time and time again and yet there was nothing real about it for him.
The only thing that was real about the Christian faith for him was that he wanted to put an end to Christianity.
That man reminded me of the Apostle Paul.
He wanted to argue with every Christian he came across and in many ways persecuted the Church.
God had never given him eyes to truly have the Gospel.
He knew it in his head but the very thought of the Gospel would drive this man crazy.
His life goal was to educate people on the horrors of the Christian
The reality is that what was given to Paul, wasn’t merely given to him in a head knowledge.
The Gospel came to Paul with a life changing impact upon His mind.
One that brought about a divine change upon his heart and also upon his whole person.
The technical language which Paul used here could very easily be reflected into the great story of Moses receiving the Law.
Moses recieved the Law at Sinai and it created upon him a life changing impact.
Now it was not the same in the sense of salvation.
Yet it no doubt changed Moses’ life.
For in that Law Moses had been given divine instruction which pointed him towards the character of His Lord.
But think about this for a second.
Moses wasn’t given the Law from other people who were around him.
It wasn’t something set aside for him from his Father in Law.
Instead it was given unto Him from the Lord in such a way that it’s source was without confusion.
And when He recieved the Law it became the very guide by which Moses lived his life.
Much in the same way, the Gospel was this same way for Paul.
It was a divine initiative based solely upon the Lord.
And when on the road to Damascus this reality of Paul persecuting the Christ was finally revealed.
Paul could only respond by recognizing the very Lord who had redeemed him.
And from that moment on his entire life was flipped upside down.
He no longer had the desire to persecute the Church.
He instead had a desire to serve Christ.
The Scripture says that Paul immediately began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues.
He didn’t wait and take council from other men as to how he should believe.
He didn’t seek after advice from the Apostles.
The text is quite clear that it was 3 years before Paul had met up with the other Apostles.
And even then it was only 15 days and that was during the time of Jerusalem Council in .
And as all of us in this room know, 15 days is not enough time to get our heads on straight as to what we believe.
I spent three and a half years wrestling with the doctrine of election and the Sovereignty of God.
And that’s only one aspect of the countless many doctrines in the Bible.
Paul didn’t need that time and nor did he take it.
He went from proclaiming that Jesus was a blasphemer to proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God within a very short time!
In fact the language of leads me to believe that there was no time of waiting.
He truly went from persecuting the Church to preaching Christ.
Paul preached so much about Jesus that soon after his conversion the Jews began devising a plot to kill him and he had to be let down through an opening in the wall by a basket.
What in the world could make a man immediately shift his focus from persecution of Christians to proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ?
The answer is simple.
This Jesus who Saul of Tarsus had never met, revealed Himself to Paul and changed this mans heart on the road to Damascus.
Paul had a new allegiance.
He had a new purpose in life.
And that new purpose was to make known the beauty of the Gospel which Paul had been given.
The accusation from the Judiazers would lead me to believe that Paul had an ulterior mo
Paul seen the risen Christ and he gave up everything for Him.
No longer would Paul be dependent upon the fame or the riches of his Pharisaical upbringing.
Paul would no longer have the fame and the power attached to his background.
But instead he would live out his life in many ways the opposite of what he had before.
He would be jailed and beaten on more than one occasion.
He would be given the opportunity to speak before the highest of people in the land.
And he would also ultimately give his life for this Gospel.
This Gospel which he recieved from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
This should encourage us in the Gospel!
We should be reminded that each and every day the Lord Jesus Christ is changing the hearts of people all throughout the land.
Jesus is literally changing the hearts of millions of people every single year and bringing those people into eternity with Him.
We may be 2000 years removed from the resurrection of Jesus Christ but that hasn’t slowed the growth of the Church.
Christ continues in both good seasons and bad seasons to bring unto Himself His beloved bride.
So what are you doing with that?
Are you taking that in and rejoicing that there are people sharing the Gospel?
I hope so.
But I also hope that it breaks your heart at the same time.
I hope it breaks your heart because the King of all creation has a bride out there awaiting the Gospel to be proclaimed to them, and yet the chance are we didn’t share the Gospel with anyone last week!
Listen I am not trying to guilt you into sharing the Gospel.
I’m trying to remind you that you can share the Gospel with confidence.
Don’t merely proclaim a half hearted Gospel or bite your tongue right before you share it.
SHARE THE GOSPEL
The very worst that could happen is that it cost you your life.
But even then what is that?
To live is Christ and to die is gain.
When Jesus sought you out and brought you unto Himself for redemption, He didn’t do it so that you could merely live out a righteous life.
He didn’t do it so that you could proclaim the Gospel without using words.
In fact theres no such thing.
He set you apart so that you will be known by Him and that you can make Him known to all the world.
So Christian, let me ask you this question.
Are you doing that?
Are you making the risen Lord Jesus Christ known throughout all the world?
Are you proclaiming as Paul did this wonderful Gospel that reminds us that Jesus died for sinners and through faith in Him they can have everlasting life?
I pray that you are.
I pray that your conscience is so stricken by a desire to reach the lost and dying world that it begins to overtake your mind until you do something about it.
Beloved I don’t say any of that in anger.
I say it out of conviction.
If we’re not willing to make Jesus Christ and Him crucified known unto all the world, what point do we have in living?
I know that sharing the Gospel is hard.
I know that sharing the beautiful message of Christ will get you ridiculed, spit on and much more.
But it is totally worth it.
Just look at Paul as the example.
His reputation had the Christians fearing him and yet God in His rich mercy saw it fit to make Paul a new man through the Gospel.
And look at how he was used by God.
Obedience to Christ in it’s truest form cannot help but share the message of who He is and what He has done to redeem us.
Now for anyone in here who might be living their life like my atheist friend I described earlier.
Listen to me for a moment.
You can spend your whole life with knowledge far exceeding the greatest Scholars about who Jesus is.
Yet your life will have been wasted if this message has not been made known to the depths of your heart.
Having the greatest doctrine and the greatest theology will get you nowhere.
If you know that this is you, don’t wait until tomorrow.
I don’t care if you’re 6 or 60, 9 or 91.
He wasn’t that old, at least not by todays standards.
He had no knowledge of what was coming his way that fatef
Repent and look to the Lord.
Plead with him to make your heart new through the Gospel the same way Christ did with the Apostle Paul.
Don’t leave here today with merely a knowledge of who Jesus Christ is.
Ask that the Lord would know you and make you a part of His Beloved Bride.