Summary: Pentecost 2(C) - Only one truth saves. This one truth is not man’s message but this one truth is God’s gospel alone.
ONLY ONE TRUTH SAVES
June 18, 2006 - PENTECOST 2 - Galatians 1:1-10
* * * * * * * * *
Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Who is planning a trip this summer, who has recently gone a trip? I see today that some have already traveled from different places to be here. They will travel back home. As we go from one point to another, we know how important it is that we know how to get from that one point to the next point. We know that sometimes we have different options and different choices to travel from one place to another. But in the end, there is only one way that will get us to our destination. We follow that map carefully lest we get lost. This morning as we begin our study in the book of Galatians, God reminds us through the Apostle Paul there is only one truth that saves. Paul was emphasizing what Jesus told his disciples: "Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’" (John 14:6). That is the map we have as believers, from this physical point (earth) or a point of time – the present – to the next point (heaven) the future. Today’s text reminds us:
ONLY ONE TRUTH SAVES
I. This truth is not man’s message
II. This truth is God’s gospel alone
I. THIS TRUTH IS NOT MAN’S MESSAGE
We look at how Paul begins this letter reminding the believers of his authority. Paul reminds them he didn’t come on his own or didn’t come because someone else had sent him there. What does he say? Verse 1: "Paul, an apostle--sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father." Paul was writing to these believers, because God had told him to. Paul was writing to these believers because they needed to be directed back on the path of life. They needed to be directed back to the true gospel of God’s message. He gives us in a few verses later the reason he is writing. Paul writes: "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 no gospel at all." Paul was amazed that after they had heard the message and they believed, now they were turning away to a different gospel that was being spread. We have to remind ourselves of the setting. These believers didn’t have their own personal Bibles that they could sit down and study. It was by hearing that the Christian faith spread. Many times after Paul went to a place and the churches were started and he left, others came in and preached a different gospel. The people who were not paying close attention by listening, could be swayed by another gospel. Paul says, "I am astonished that you don’t believe now in the Gospel of Christ." We have to also remember this gospel--that Christ came and lived and died and rose again was new. This was the first generation of Christianity.
Paul describes the wickedness of believing what men might say rather than God. Our text: "Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ." Paul doesn’t name these people specifically. History tells us that the Judaizers, those who wanted to hold on to the Old Testament laws, were the ones that came and tried to pervert the gospel of Christ. They are saying, "Sure, Christ came, lived and died; but you still have to do something. You still have to observe the law, keep the law, then you can be saved." Paul came and preached God’s gospel, which says, "Christ lived and died and rose again. Your sins are forgiven."
To them who would preach a different gospel there are warnings. Paul writes: "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" Let them be condemned whether it would be man or an angel. A different gospel is a wrong gospel. Man’s message is not the gospel of Christ. This warning is so important that he repeats it again: "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!" Paul gives a warning to those who try to pervert the gospel. Paul reminds these believers that there is a danger of turning away from that path--the way, the truth and the life--onto there own path or onto the path that someone else has designed
For us today, what happens? We find in our society of our day and age because we have a great freedom of religion. We can worship wherever we want, whatever we want, whatever kind of god we want. Therefore sometimes the true God isn’t the one worshiped or held up as the only true God. There are all kinds of gods placed above him. In our day and age it is hard to keep up with those who make up their gods to worship. We know that sometimes we fall into that when we worship our family or our things or our own ideas. Those easily become our false gods. The Lord reminds us as this world goes hurtling down the path and the road to the Last Day, it is not going to get any better. Paul wrote to Timothy: "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear" (2 Timothy 4:3). So we see what they call mega churches. Thousands upon thousands of people are members because they get to hear what they want to hear. They worship in big buildings with all kinds of worldly comforts surrounding them. Around the building they have coffee shops and libraries. Everybody feels like they are going to a shopping mall. Most people like that. They get to hear what their itching ears want to hear. The word of God then is turned into man’s message, and people can be led astray. This is nothing new as people try to pervert the gospel of Christ.