Summary: Continuing in our Dance Lessons series, we will study Galatians 1:6-10 and find Paul doubling down on the importance of the Gospel of Grace
A Counterfeit Gospel
Chenoa Baptist Church
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
A few years ago, I led a mission trip to New York City with 15 teenagers and several other adults. We went into Times Square and we were all overwhelmed by the lights, sounds, and mass of humanity that calls NYC home.
I had always wanted to buy Maxine something expensive, like a Dooney and Bourke purse. These purses can run $300 to $500 dollars.
As we were in walking through Time Square, I noticed a nice gentleman waving to me. He had a table with all kinds of purses - Versace, Louie Vuitton, and Dooney and Bourke! I could buy Maxine a really expensive purse for between $25 and $50 dollars. What a deal!
But when I inspected the purses closely, the patterns seemed a little off. It looked a lot like a Dooney and Bourke purse but, in the end, alas it was a fake, a counterfeit.
There are a lot of counterfeits in this world. God creates and satan counterfeits. Sadly, collectors are telling people to be very wary of buying Kobe Bryant memorabilia because the counterfeiters are out in full force after a tragedy happens.
We are going to discover that there was a counterfeit gospel being shopped in the churches of Galatia. And Paul wasn’t going to stand for it for one minute.
Last week, we began our series on the book of Galatians called, “Dance Lessons.” We considered the first five verses that comprise the introduction or salutation of the letter.
We answered the questions:
“Who wrote the letter?”
The Apostle Paul
“Who was the letter written to?”
The baby Christians in the churches of Galatia, which includes Perga, Iconium, Derbe, Antioch Pisidia, and Lystra. These churches were planted by Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey through what is now southern Turkey.
Why did he write the letter?
After he returned to Antioch in Syria, he received a message that there was a group of Pharisees from Jerusalem that claimed authority from James. They questioned Paul’s authority as an apostle and were teaching these new believers that they had to be circumcised, follow the Old Testament dietary rules, and the ceremonial laws of Moses. In Acts, at the Jerusalem council they demanded:
“The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” (Acts 15:5)
But Paul emphatically wrote to the Galatians in chapter 5:
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Gal 5:6)
These new believers were confused about who, and what to believe.
What was Paul’s message?
Paul immediately asserts his authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ. He had not be commissioned by a committee or appointed by a leader like Peter or James. His mission was given to him directly in an encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus road.
He know the Gospel and his spiritual children’s souls are at stake so he begins his letter with a summary of the true Gospel:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The true Gospel is a rescue mission. Jesus Christ, willingly died on the cross, in our place, to take the penalty of our sins and to open the way back to a relationship with God.
This was done according to the will of the Father and out of sheer grace. We did nothing to earn it. We didn’t deserve it. We could never hop high enough for God’s holiness. But “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)
I love the fact that Scott Sauls says that there is “no cover charge in heaven because Jesus already paid it!”
Patrick Mohomes will start tonight as quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. He is a strong born-again evangelical Christian.
Recently, he was eating dinner with his wife at a pizza place. Everyone saw it was Patrick but not one person asked for an autograph or picture. When he went to leave he asked for everyones attention. He said, “Thank you for letting my wife and I eat dinner in peace. This is why I love KC”.
After they left, everyone learned that he had paid the bill of every customer there!
We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone to the glory of God alone!
Charles Spurgeon said that the “only thing we bring to salvation is the sin that nailed Jesus to the cross.”
When we try to add anything to the Gospel, we actually end up with something completely different from the Gospel.