Summary: Having pointed out the shortcomings of a "different gospel" in 1:6-10, Paul points out the transforming power of a gospel that makes a difference.
A family from a remote area was making their first visit to a big city. They checked in to a grand hotel and stood in amazement at the impressive sight. As Mom signed in at the reception desk, Father and son came to the elevator entrance. They’d never seen an elevator before, and just stared at it, unable to figure out what it was for. An old lady hobbled towards the elevator and went inside. The door closed. About a minute later, the door opened and out came a stunningly good-looking young woman.
Dad couldn’t stop staring. Without turning his head he patted his son’s arm and said, "Go get your mother, son."
What a difference. In the passage we considered last week, The apostle Paul made some strong arguments for what he called a "different Gospel, which he said really wasn’t any Gospel at all--any other message he said isn’t good news.
In today’s passage, we get a look at the other side of the coin. Today we look not at a different gospel, but the one true Gospel
Proposition: And we shall se that it is a gospel that makes a difference...
Interrogative: So what is the difference between the real gospel and the counterfeits, and what is the difference that the gospel makes in our lives?
Transition: I notice three big differences here, The source the substance and the strength, but since you’re fill in the blank outlines don’t have S’s but T’s you know those aren’t the words I’m going to use to describe the differences. First I’d like to consider the difference in Source of the true Gospel. It is different because of it’s
vv. 11-12 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached 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 true message of good news, that salvation from sin can be found in the sacrificial death of Christ through faith alone, is not a man made message. It is at once too simple and too magnificent for man’s wisdom. It is a transcendent message, a message from beyond our mortal limitations. It is a message from God.
Notice the similarity here between verses 1 & 12. In verse 1 Paul makes it clear that he is an apostle, a representative sent not by man, but by God. And here in verse 12 Paul makes the same point for the message itself. For Paul the two are inseparable, the source of his authority is the authenticity of his God-sent message.
Now Paul here is not saying that there was anything wrong with the Gospel as taught in Jerusalem, in the next chapter he makes the point explicitly that the message was the same. He is simply saying that he does not have some sort of proxy authority for the message but that he received the message by the direct authority of Jesus Christ just like those apostles in Jerusalem.
The reason that is important in the context of this letter to the Galatian churches is that those who were preaching another Gospel were trying to say, "Hey we’ve got the REAL message straight from Jerusalem, from the REAL apostles, and Paul got it there too but he tried to water it down because he didn’t think you would accept the REAL message."
To this Paul responds, "No, I didn’t go to Jerusalem to hear the message, I received it by revelation from Christ Himself."
The significance for us today is that we need to understand and submit to the Divine authority of the Gospel message just like the Galatians did. We have no right to alter parts of it according to our pleasure to make it more acceptable to ourselves and our society. Yes we want to communicate it with relevance to make it understood, but we cannot water it down.
The message is what it is once and for all, in every time in every place. Christ died for sinners, those who submit to his authority and reach out in faith are saved by His sacrifice. It doesn’t matter if we live in a society that is uncomfortable with the concept of sin, if you don’t admit your sin you can’t be saved.
It doesn’t matter if we live in a world that wants every viewpoint to be equally accepted, the good news is still singular, there aren’t many ways to get to heaven, there is one way, the way of the cross. If we could save ourselves, Paul will argue in chapter 2, verse 21, then Christ died for nothing.
That message of salvation, that good news, is not a message from man but a message from God. It is Transcendent, that makes a big difference. The next difference is one of substance. The genuine Gospel is...