Summary: The Bible is highly underrated. Today we will see just how powerful it really is.
Galatians 1:11-24: The Bible – God’s Word, and God’s Power
Last week I could see that Father’s Day was coming. All the advertisements in the paper told me that it was time for me to go out and buy a manly gift for my father. All week long, that’s what the newspapers have been telling you to do. Go and buy a manly gift for your father. Maybe he needs a new lawn tractor with lots of horsepower, or a big, powerful circular saw, or maybe a drill press. The louder the tool, and the more it smells like gasoline, the better. Maybe a chain saw, or a trailer hitch, or a new, giant spatula for his grill. Manly gifts for the manly father – have you bought yours yet?
Today, we are going to peek into our Heavenly Father’s toolbox, and we’re going to take a look at a very powerful tool that God uses as he works on us, his people. That tool, of course, is his Word, the Bible. It many not look as manly as a chain saw or lawn tractor, but it really is the most powerful tool, spiritual tool, on the market today. We’re going to spend some time this morning talking about this tool. We’re going to see how it is highly underrated in our world today. And, we’re going to take a look at just how much it can change a person. It is my goal that after the service today, you will have a greater appreciation for the Bible, because it is God’s Word, and it is God’s power.
During the days of the Apostle Paul, the Gospel was highly underrated. Paul had gone to the churches in Galatia, and had taught them about their sins, and had taught them about Christ, their Savior, who had taken their sins away. After Paul left, some troublemakers visited the churches in Galatia, and they told the people, “Don’t listen to Paul. What he’s telling you isn’t from God. It’s a bunch of man-made ideas. Trusting in Jesus as your Savior? His sacrifice on the cross? His resurrection? That’s nice, but it’s just something that Paul made up. Or maybe he was taught it by a bunch of other people who made it up. Don’t listen to him.”
But look at how Paul responds to the trouble-makers. Verse 11: “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached to you is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it. Rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” The whole idea of people having their sins forgiven by the sacrifice of God’s Son on the cross – that’s not a man-made idea, Paul says here. That is something that Christ himself revealed to Paul. Later on in this section, Paul once again emphasizes that the Christians at that time didn’t even know who he was, and therefore couldn’t have taught him anything. Look at verse 22: “I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.” Paul’s main point was this – the good news, that your sins are forgiven, and that because of Christ you’re going to heaven – “that’s not something I made up, nor was I brainwashed into believing that by someone else – that teaching, the gospel, was something that Christ himself, God himself, revealed to me.”
Those trouble-makers were rejecting the Gospel because they didn’t like the message. They didn’t want to trust in Christ. Instead, they wanted to earn their way to heaven with their good works. And you know what? Things haven’t changed much over the last 2000 years. Many people today look down on the Bible, reject the message about Christ and his death and resurrection. Many people today say, “You don’t actually believe that stuff, do you? It’s a bunch of manmade ideas. It’s a bunch of fables. This isn’t from God. I’d rather just try to earn my way to heaven with my good works.
There is a great amount of pressure today, on you, as a Christian, to go along with the crowd. Today you are pressured to say with the rest of the world, “I guess this really isn’t God’s Word. It’s just another book. It’s not something to get excited about.” We live in a world where the Bible, and especially the message of the Gospel, is highly underrated.
This past week, the sports world had to repent, because they underrated the Detroit Pistons. The NBA championship took place these last couple weeks, and everyone was excited about the Los Angeles Lakers. They have the superstars, they have the hall of fame players, they have the super-coach who has already won nine championships. And everyone loves LA. And then there are those little Detroit Pistons – a team of nobody’s – they don’t stand a chance. The series begins, and those little Detroit Pistons just wallop the Lakers. It wasn’t even close. The super-team from LA got blown out of the building by the underdogs from Detroit. And now, all the sports writers are trying to figure out how they underrated the Pistons so much.