Summary: Jesus, The Gospel, Servants of Christ
ONE CHURCH - Being One
Galatians 1:1-10 (p. 810) June 5, 2016
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could live in a world where we could make everyone happy?
Most of us here today really do want people to like us…we really do want to get along with everybody.
When I read the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you,live at peace with everyone.” I get the feeling it flows from this same desire.
He’s saying “Rick, don’t look for a fight…don’t automatically get mad when you don’t agree with someone…Rick, don’t be so proud…treat everyone with respect…Don’t be conceited…Don’t repay evil for evil…Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.”
If your enemy is hungry, feed them. If they’re thirsty, get them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on their head (Is it wrong I really like that part?). Don’t be overcome by evil…but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:20-21)
How does the same godly man, who says he was sent by God…say “Let them be under God’s curse…in fact he repeats it! “I say it again! Let them be under God’s curse.”
Doesn’t sound like he’s trying to make these folks happy…doesn’t sound like “peaceful” dialogue, does it?
So how do we reconcile these two statements that flow from a servant’s heart? How can being one be possible if two parties disagree about the definition of “good news?” The truth is “THEY CAN’T.”
I. JESUS ONLY HAD ONE VISION FOR HIS FOLLOWERS
Have you ever noticed in the New Testament that people and churches seldom disagree or divide when they’re focused on Jesus’ sacrifice and that is the backdrop for how they live their lives.
It’s exactly why Paul starts out with the remembrance…His message is about “Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead.” (v. 1) Our God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.” (v. 3 & 4)
That’s pretty plainly “the gospel message” which originated in our God and Father. It’s the foundation of people’s salvation…including yours and mine…in fact it’s the only way any person goes to heaven. It’s the main thing…that should always be the main thing in our lives. If we’re brothers and sisters in Christ…It’s what makes us “one.” “A family committed to loving Jesus and others, so our neighbors, community and world can experience good news.”
The word “gospel” as most of you know means “good news.” And whether we’re comfortable with this truth or not…Jesus commissioned those who had experienced this graceful salvation to change their world by sharing it…by living it.
This is His plan…and if your plan prioritizes something above it, or in addition to it, it’s not the gospel…it’s something entirely different. God’s plan isn’t going to ever change, that’s the gospel truth! That’s why the Apostle Paul is so adamant when he says, “Even if we, or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse.”
He’s not willing to compromise this vision to win the approval of human beings…he won’t water down to please people…if he does, He won’t be a servant of Christ.
How committed is he to this calling? Let me read you one of my favorite stories from Paul’s life…It’s in Acts Chapter 14…Paul and Barnabas are preaching…Paul sees a lame man listening, and perceives that he believes…so he says “stand up on your feet.” He jumps up (no kidding) and walks around…The crowd goes crazy…they want to worship Paul and Barnabas as gods…calling them “Zeus” and “Hermes.” They tried to offer sacrifices to them…now listen to what happens:
ACTS 14:14-20 (p. 769)
Ministry can be like that…one day the crowd loves you, the next moment they’re influenced to stone you to death…and drag your behind out of town…my favorite part of the story is after the disciples gather around him (praying…concerned…scared) “Paul got up and went back into the city.”
Back into the city!!! How powerful do you think that commitment to the gospel was?
Are you willing to die…so you can share your vision…the gospel…if you’re not willing to die for it…you sure won’t be willing to live unashamedly for it.
It seems to me that those who Paul was writing to in our text in Galatians started with the right foundation…They had experienced God’s call to live in the grace of Christ…but something happened…something, or someone divided and seperated them from the Savior who makes us one…it seems in Galatia
II. THERE WERE GOSPEL HIJACKERS
Let me tell you what I mean. Paul’s message, the good news, was that it didn’t matter whether you were a Jew or whether you were a Gentile (anyone who wasn’t Jewish). “You are not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 2:16)