Summary: A different gospel is not the gospel and cannot make a difference.
TITLE: A Different Gospel?
TEXT: Galatians 1:6-10
6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.
10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
A counterfeiter made a mistake in printing up some funny money. Instead of printing fifty-dollar bills, he mistakenly printed up thirty-dollar bills. Not wanting to let his paper and ink go to waste he decided to pass them off on "those dumb cajans in south Louisiana". His first stop was at Mr. Dufrene’s grocery store in Bayou Gauche. The counterfeiter explained he he wanted to purchase some bait at the bait stand next door, but that the proprietor didn’t have enough change to break the large bill he was making the purchase with. Mr. Dufrene said, "No problem boo, I can give you some change for your cash. Whatcha need?" The counterfeiter responded, "Well all I got is this $30 bill, can you give me change for it?" "Ah yeah," replied Mr. Dufrene, "dat ain’t no problem. How you want dat? You want ten $3 bills or two $15 bills."
A facsimile of a one-hundred dollar bill is a counterfeit. It may look like the real thing, but when examined by an expert it will prove to be worthless. Likewise, any gospel other than the Gospel that Paul preached is worthless and powerless.
In our text, Paul informs his readers that they are trading the genuine gospel for a different gospel. In doing this he focuses on three things: 1) The Problem, 2) The Prescription and 3) The Preacher.
I. THE PROBLEM.
"I am amazed [astonished, stunned] that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ" (1:6-7).
The problem is understood only when we comprehend the distinct nature of the Gospel.
A. DISTINCTION. The Gospel Paul preached was unique in at least two ways.
1. Distinct in its origin. It comes from the God of grace. (See Gal. 1:11-12.)
2. Distinct in its offer. It offers God’s unmerited favor to those who believe its message. Instead of offering laborers a wage it offers faithers a gift. Neither Islam, Buddism nor any other religion make this offer to sinful men. God offers faithers life for death, forgiveness for indebtedness and peace for guilt.
B. DESERTION. The Galatians were deserting the gospel of grace and the God of grace. It is impossible to desert one without deserting the other. They were abandoning liberty for legalism and life for law.
Paul was amazed at how quickly this had taken place. The enemy wastes no time in coming to steal the good seed from the heart of the new convert.
C. DISTORTION. What they viewed as a "different gospel" was actually a "distorted gospel." The term "distort" translates a Greek term that means to transform into something of an opposite character. The message preached by the Judaizers reversed Paul’s gospel. It made salvation something to be attained by works—keeping the Law and being circumcised, plus faith in Christ. To believe this "distorted" version of the gospel required the adherent to abandon Christ.
II. THE PRESCRIPTION.
"But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed" (1:8-9).
In the previous two verses Paul focused primarily on the Galatians, but in verses eight and nine he trains his sites on the Judaizers.
A. THE COUNSEL. Paul counsels his readers to judge other messages by what he had preached to them. What was Paul’s message?
In First Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul summarizes the content of his gospel:
1. Christ died for our sins.
2. Christ was buried.
3. Christ was raised from the dead.
4. Christ appeared to witnesses.