Summary: How to stop your church from closing.
Text: Galatians 1:2-10
Title: God’s will for every church.
Today we begin a new series on the book of Galatians. Today’s message is “God’s will for every church.”
When Jesus founded the church he did so with a promise. “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Yet the sad reality is that hundreds of Christian churches close their doors every year. Did the gates of hell prevail against all these closed churches? Did Jesus not keep his promise? Or is the promise conditional? Did Jesus mean that only if Jesus builds the church then the gates of hell shall not prevail against it?
The churches in Galatia were fighting for their survival. Would Jesus build them or would the devil bury them? It was astonishing to the apostle Paul how bad things had gotten. (v6) The enemy had made significant inroads into the churches through two major fronts. These are the same two fronts the enemy uses today.
1. First of all the enemy sought to prevail against the church through the weapon of confusion.
Paul said; “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” (v7) Notice how the enemy successfully threw the church into confusion; by perverting the gospel of Christ. In the living Bible v7 reads; “You are being fooled by those who twist and change the truth concerning Christ.” If the enemy wants to confuse a church he targets Christ. He targets who Christ is. He fights against the deity of Christ. The enemy also fights against what Christ did for us on the cross. That’s why the apostle Paul reminds the church that “he gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age according to the will of our God and Father.” (v4)
Because the Galatians were confused about who Jesus really was and about what he had done for us on the cross it allowed the enemy to successfully employ a second weapon;
2. The weapon of compromise.
Confusion always leads to compromise. Paul says; “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- which is really no gospel at all.” (v6-7) Paul does not give us a name for this different gospel but I want to propose this name; the gospel of compromise. It astonished Paul how quickly the church had compromised the gospel of Christ. How did the Galatians compromise the gospel of Christ so quickly? I believe verse 10 may hold the answer. “Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men.” The fasting way to compromise the gospel of Christ is by trying to win the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
The gospel of Christ will not meet the approval of this world. In Matthew 10 we read “All men will hate you because of me.” (v22) and “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (v34) Why is this? I believe it is because very few men approve of what the Bible says about them. You tell someone that the Bible says they are sinners-will they approve of that? Will saying that please them?
Here is the great danger with a compromising gospel; it saves nobody! A compromising gospel only condemns. Here is what Paul says in v8-9;
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you let them be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again; if anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned.”
Only the gospel of Christ saves from condemnation! Let the confused and the condemned trust in Jesus.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:17-18)
What is the alternative to being a confused or a compromising church? It is to be;
3. A Christ-serving church!
“If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (v10)
What does a Christ-serving church look like? It is a church that seeks to please God rather than Man. And how does a church best please God? By serving Christ!
In conclusion Christ will build His church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it if that church is a Christ serving church.