Standing Firm on an Offensive Gospel
1. Very opinionated culture
a) Moive and book reviews, shows with professional opinions about what is going on, bloggers and the internet
2. As Christians, how concerned should be about other people’s opinions? Should we be concerned with how we are perceived or what people think about us?
3. What about God’s opinion? Do we know what God’s opinion of us is? How does God view us?
1. Paul preaches the gospel and plants churches.
2. Paul moves on and Judaizers move in.
a) Accepted the gospel, but then were led astray
b) Paul didn’t want it to get out of hand.
3. Paul writes to correct them.
a) Firm. Not happy at all.
4. Our Journey
a) Talking about doctrine, mainly justification
b) Move from the head, to the heart.
· Stand Firm.
· Set free through Christ.
· Stand firm don’t return to slavery (working for God’s favor)
· Stand firm against ourselves.
· Stand firm against others.
· Stand firm on the offensive gospel.
C. Stand Firm Against Ourselves (vs. 1-5)
a) Israelites in the desert—wanted to return to Egypt when going got tough.
· Return to it because it gives “control”, something to depend on.
2. The Galatians were set free, but they were returning to slavery.
a) The Galatians were "set free."
· Heard the gospel and believed.
· When we believe the gospel, we are set free in two ways: from sin’s power and from sin’s guilt.
b) False teaching crept in, and they thought Christ wasn't enough.
· Thought they needed circumcision as well.
· In itself, not bad…the reality behind it was bad.
· Thought they needed “Christ plus.” This was their personal contribution. “Now I’m really a Christian.” “Now God really loves me.”
· Add anything to the gospelàlose the gospel.
· Vs 2: “Mark my words!...”
· Add worksàyou subtract Christàon your own.
· Can’t just follow one law, you have to follow them all. (vs. 3)
· Problem is that it can’t be done. You can’t do it.
3. We are not very different from these Galatians (I am not very different)
a) If you are a Christian today, you are “set free."
· Heard the gospel and believe.
· We have been set free from the power and the guilt of sin.
· Salvation is ours. We are justified. We are God’s children. Sons and daughters.
· Work has been doneàonly believe.
b) Think that we still need to earn God’s favor..
· So used to earning things, that we begin to think that is how God works too.
o Garden, promotion, getting good grades to graduate.
· Explicit or implicit: Little voice in our heads tells us that the good work that we’re doing is earning God’s favor.
· God will love me more if I:
o Quiet times. Church. Pray. Be good. Don’t swear.
o If we don’t do them, then we’re not really a Christian.
· When we are doing good things, we feel good about ourselves. We feel like God should love us more because of what we do. God doesn’t love others as much who don’t do what we do.
· Creates pride in our lives, and it is not the gospel.
· Good that we do doesn’t contribute to our salvation. It doesn’t add to God’s love for us. If we think that we can add to it, then we lose Christ and what he has done!
· Other problem: Debtor’s Ethic: we see what God has done for us through Jesus and we feel we need to do good works to repay him.
· think “He’s done so much…here’s how I can repay him.”
o I can go to church, be nice to people, give my money, have my quiet times and prayàmy repayment for this huge debt.
· Act out of guilt. Think we can do something to repay God.
o 1 personànational debt. No chance.
· Either way: It’s all about me: not the gospel.
· If we think we are are earning God’s favor by the things that we do, we’ve missed the gospel.
· If we think we can repay God for what he’s done for us, we’ve missed the gospel.
· Do this or God won’t love meàmissed the gospel (while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8)
· Christ died for us when we were still sinners. That means God loved us when we were at our worst. God’s love doesn’t change.
· Can’t repay the debt. Working for ever. Never be enough.
4. Everything except Christ alone is false and leads to slavery.
· Christ doesn’t need our help. We need his.
· Christ didn’t die for us so he would be paid back. He knew we never could.
· Thinking we can contribute or need to leads to slavery.
· Thinking we need to repay the debt leads to slavery.
· “Have I done enough?” Always: no. Have to do more.
· That is not the gospel!
· Gospel: I am sinner and I need help. Christ rescued me by his death on the cross.
· Stop trying to add to the gospel. When we add our works to what God has already done in Christ, we lose Christ completely: we become slaves trying to earn salvation.
· Lose ourselves, we gain Christ, and we are free!
· Not only Stand firm against ourselves, but others as well.
D. Stand Firm Against Others
1. The Galatians were poisoned by the Judaizers.
· “Not really a Christian if not circumcised.”
· Poisoning minds of Christians, saying what G’s wanted to hear: I can do something!
· Didn't listen to God's call, listened to culture.
· Paul says in vs 8: “That kind of persuasion…”
2. We are poisoned by the noise of our culture as well.
· Drown out God’s calling in our lives with the noise of culture.
o Illustration: driving while on the phone, or texting, or blaring the radioàget distracted!
o TV on…music playing in background…afraid of silence.
· Let culture and circumstances dictate what we should be doing, not the truth of Scripture:
o Behind at work…catch up on Sunday.
o Kid’s got a game…skip church.
o Economy has turned…need every penny.
· Culture dictates what is important, not the Bible
o Students: clothes, car, girl or guy
· Culture can be a poison that drowns out God’s calling to us.
· Culture in itselfà not bad. We were made as cultural people. It is how we live and interact.
· But when culture dictates our lives, it is a poison.
· Culture tells us that we have to do or to perform or to have in order to be loved and acceptedàleads to slavery (about what we do)
· Gospel tells us the opposite: tells us that because of what God did, we are acceptedàfreedom.
· If we need to stand firm against ourselves and against others, what can we stand firm on?
E. Stand firm on the offensive gospel.
· Vs. 6 is the key to the whole passage: “For in Christ Jesus…”
· Any time Paul says “The only thing that counts…”
· Like walking into your first day of classàsyllabus with list of assignmentàonly thing that counts is attendance.
· This is the gospel, and it is offensive (vs. 11).
1. Faith, not us.
a) Stop adding to the gospel. Stop adding to Christ. Just believe.
· Why is this offensive?
· Faith in Christ means low view of self:
o Not good.
o Sinful and need help.
· Admit who you really are…not something that people like to hear.
· I’m mostly good! No you’re not. you’re all bad. That’s offensive.
· Can’t earn it. Just need to ask for help and give up control.
2. Love is Serving others
· Helping old women across the street.
· Putting others above ourselves.
3. Love is also speaks the truth without shame.
a) Paul's Mood
· Very Angry
· Hates evil
· Loves good
b) Speaks truth in love.
· No choice--has to.
· In loving relationship with the Galatians (illustrate)
c) Not watering down the offense of the gospel.
d) Speaking up & standing up for faith.
· No, but yes.
· Personally convicted this week about my view of myself.
· Want people to like me.
· Speaking truth in love, putting yourself in a place where people might be offended.
4. What about us?
· Are we trying to earn God’s favor?
· Are we trying to pay God back for what he’s done?
· Stop. If we are, we lose Christ. We can never do enough.
· Are we listening to the noise around us, or are we listening to God and his word?
· Are we standing firm on a gospel that is offensive?
· Or are we worried about what other people might think about us or what might happen to us?
· If we believe and understand the gospel, it won’t matter, because we know how God feels about us…”While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
· We have been set free in Christ! Let us stand firm!
Rock of Ages lyrics:
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save me from its guilt and power.
Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace:
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All could never sin erase,
Thou must save, and save by grace.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.