Summary: A sermon for seminary students or pastors. Proclaim the truth when needed because it will keep people from away from the danger of false teachings. [for the sake of the Truth and the people]
We are a family of six - my mom, her four daughters, and one who is a lesbian. Yes, you have heard it right. I have a lesbian sister. Maybe you have thought that, “Oh, but she is a Pastor. How does she deal with this?” Well yeah, this is one of the most challenging ministries that God have put me in. Me and my sisters had our ups and downs… we usually fight because she wants to be accepted along with all that she does. She would tag me in her Facebook posts with words like, “God is Love.” “Other people accept me for who I am.” and others. But I always tell her that not everything she does is acceptable. Not only for me but also in the eyes of God. Because of this, I could sense the resentment that she has for me… but would this stop me from showing my love to her by telling her the truth?
Friends, telling the truth when needed will keep people away from danger.
When I read the letter of Paul to the churches in Galatia, one thing that came to my mind was… the Christians there were in danger. I could sense this feeling of urgency with how Paul started his letter. He even skipped the Thanksgiving portion that he usually includes whenever he writes to churches. So, what happened?
Paul found out that there was another gospel being preached within the churches in Galatia. There were Jewish Christians who were trying to mix up Christianity and Judaism and creating a different set of beliefs. They were trying to persuade the people to observe the law of Moses and believe in salvation by works. In short, to borrow the terms used in some commentaries, these Jewish Christians were Judaizing the churches in Galatia. And Paul, being so zealous and certain about the Gospel that He is proclaiming, (because it is not of human origin but a revelation to him by Christ) and him, being an apostle who is full of love for Christ’s church, he couldn’t just let this pass, so he had to write them a letter.
A letter that was full of emotions, expressions of marvel and sorrow for both the Gospel and the people… he expressed in verse 6 how astonished he was to find out that the churches where he preached the liberating Gospel of Christ were being swayed by false teachings. And in verses 8 and 9, he expressed his intense feeling of disgust to anyone who preaches and who will preach another set of teachings aside from that of the Scripture. He was so emotional that he even said a strong word against the false teachers. He said twice in the scope of this passage that to anyone who will teach another gospel, let them be accursed. In Greek, Paul wrote the word “a?a?eµa,” which conveys an intensified feeling of rage towards someone who perverts the Gospel of Christ. It literally means cursing someone to destruction. Like saying, whoever you are that teaches another gospel, it should be the end of you. You are doomed!
These intense emotions in Paul’s introduction show how concerned he was with the Gospel and with the people.
The Gentile Christians were deserting the Gospel of Christ. They were turning away... and they were getting into great danger without them knowing. But Paul knew… so he spoke up and proclaimed the truth in the hope that the Galatian churches would still have a chance to be redeemed.
Fellow seminary students, have you ever encountered a similar situation? Well, maybe not exactly as how it happened in Galatia. There may not be Jewish Christians in our local churches who are trying to persuade the aunties and uncles to believe that salvation is through works, there may not people in our churches who deliberately pervert what is written in the Scripture. Distorting the Gospel today or spreading false teachings may not be as open and vulgar like what Judaizers did back in Paul’s time.
But friends, I believe that all of us will agree that there are still modern-day versions of Scriptural perversion. The evil one has not stopped leading people away from the truth. And there may be times that he does it in the subtlest way possible.
But whatever form there is today, like Paul, we are still called to stand up for the truth when needed. There is still a call for us to proclaim the truth of the Scripture because it has the power to keep people away from the dangers of modern-day false teachings. False teachings that can be obviously observed or those which are subtly or indirectly imposed on people. So,with this, allow me to talk about 2 main points why there is a need for us to proclaim the truth in this present age.