Why Should We Listen To Paul’s Gospel? (pt 1)

Galatians 1:10–24

In Galatians 1:10, Paul begins a long intro into the book by arguing for the truthfulness of the gospel that he preached. The false teachers in Galtia were spreading the lies that Paul got the gospel wrong. Therefore, he needed to step in and defend the truth of the gospel (2:5) by convincing the Galatians to listen to his gospel.

He does this with a three step argument,

  • 1:10–24 – Argument 1: His gospel came directly from Jesus Christ, not man
  • 2:1–10 – Argument 2: His gospel was tested and confirmed
  • 2:11–14 – Argument 3: His gospel confronted Peter’s hypocrisy
  • Argument #1: His gospel came directly from Jesus Christ and not man.

    He illustrates this in three ways.

    1. He was the most unlikely candidate (1:12–14)

    Because the false teachers were teaching that Paul taught a wrong gospel and were only trying to manipulate the believers in Galatia, Paul explains that this does not make any sense. He is not a guy who was raised up from within the Christian movement who took advantage of the message; rather, there was a time when he was directly opposed to the gospel message. He “persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it” (1:13).

    2. He was converted by Jesus alone (1:15–16)

    Not only would Paul be the least likely candidate for making up this gospel, but the source of his gospel is none other than Jesus Christ. He did not hear it from someone, but received it directly from God. The Galatian churches needed to listen to Paul’s gospel because it is Jesus’s gospel.

    3. He was taught by Jesus alone (1:17–24)

    After Christ stopped him on the road to Damascus, Paul went into Arabia to spend time with the Lord and the Scriptures. He was not indoctrinated by any other source than God. When he did talk with other Christians, it was not until three years later.

    The point:

    For those of us in the 21st century reading the apostle Paul’s words, we too need to listen to Paul’s gospel—not because he speaks of his own authority, but because he speaks with the authority of Jesus.

    Just like Paul’s eyes were opened to see the glory of the Son of God, so God does this for us. Our salvation should cause us to give thanks to God, for he has set us apart before we were born, called us by his grace, and revealed his Son to us (1:15–16).

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    Gospel-Centered Life: Lesson 2

    This last Sunday morning in ONE28, we covered the second lesson in the study, The Gospel Centered Life.

    We looked into how we can “shrink the cross” in our thinking by failing to see God’s holiness or by ignoring our sinfulness. We do this by PRETENDING or PERFORMING. We pretend when we look to anything other than Jesus for our acceptance and credibility. Even though we may confess that salvation is found in none other than Jesus, we often show in our lives how we look to other things to make us feel “good enough” and prove our righteousness. Here are some examples from the book:

    • THEOLOGICAL RIGHTEOUSNESS: I have good theology. God prefers me over those who have bad theology.
    • INTELLECTUAL RIGHTEOUSNESS: I am better read, more articulate, and more culturally savvy than others, which obviously makes me superior.
    • LEGALISTIC RIGHTEOUSNESS: I don’t drink, smoke, or chew, or date girls who do. Too many Christians just aren’t concerned about holiness these days.

    We also shrink the cross by our peforming when we think of God as anything other than overjoyed with us. We imagine that if we were better Christians, God would approve us more fully. So we try to impress God by our “right living.” But when we do this, we’ve reduced his standards far below what they actually are. Rather than being awed by the infinite measure of his holy perfection, we have convinced ourselves that if we just try hard enough, we can merit God’s love and approval.

    When we live this way, we are showing that we have forgotten the grace that we’ve been shown by God. We are fully accepted because of the sacrifice of Jesus, who took the wrath deserved for us and gave us his perfect righteousness. For how easy it is to understand this, it is much harder to believe and apply in the nooks and crannies of our lives.

    Only One Way (Galatians 1:1–9)

    A review of our study on Galatians 1:1–9

    Our first study in the book of Galatians put us face to face with the nature of the gospel.

    The book opens with Paul reminding his readers that he is “an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ.” He says this so that his readers will not simply hear the voice of Paul in his words, but the voice of Jesus. If the people in Galatia truly knew and loved Christ, then they would submit to the words of Paul because they carried the authority of Jesus.

    Paul is writing to a group of churches in the region of Galatia (1:1–2) whom Paul had evangelized with Barnabas during his first missionary journey (Acts 13–14). Paul loved these fellow Christians. They were his spiritual children in the faith. This affection explains his stern opening to this book.

    Paul’s primary concern is given in 1:6–7:

    “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”

    Although in these opening verses he does not describe the particular heresy at play in these churches, Paul does clearly state that whatever it is, it is drawing them away from the living God. Paul is not merely getting ticked that his disciples are messing up some minor theological point. He is shocked that they are abandoning Christ.

    At the core of Paul’s concern for the gospel is his belief that Jesus Christ is the only name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). The gospel proclaims that Jesus is the only way of salvation and if the Galatians have started believing a “different gospel,” then they have turned away from Jesus.

    Part of Paul’s astonishment comes from the fact that these believers have deserted Christ so quickly. They have only been Christians for a short amount of time, but they have already drifted from the truth.

    This should stand as a warning to us as well. We can just as easily drift from Christ, if we are not on guard.

    From this passage, we walked away with three things to remember about the gospel:

    1. The gospel has the authority of Jesus.
    2. The gospel is exclusive.
    3. The gospel is Jesus-centered.

    The Gospel-Centered Life: Lesson 1

    ONE28 started studying “The Gospel-Centered Life” on Sunday morning during Sunday School. We are going through the study in our small groups.

    The first lesson of this study started out by saying, “‘The gospel’ is a phrase that Christians often use without fully understanding its significance. We speak the language of the gospel, but we rarely apply the gospel to every aspect of our lives.”

    We quickly learned how the gospel should not just be the “front door” to the Christian life, but the “hallways” that we walk through everyday. At our conversion, we saw the cross bridged the gap between God’s holiness and our sinfulness. As we progress in our Christian life, our awareness of these realities should continue to grow. Then the cross will loom larger in our hearts and lives.

    Here’s the diagram to help explain this:

    And yet we often fail to see God as holy as he is. We think higher of ourselves than we should. In doing this, we “shrink the cross.” The cross of Jesus is not the large, needed solution to our sin in our hearts that it should be.

    If we see God as he describes himself in the Scriptures, then we would see our sin as wicked as it is. Instead, we tend to minimize our sin. We minimize it by defending, faking, hiding, exaggerating, blaming, or downplaying it.

    This lesson helped us see how the gospel of the cross enables us to come to grips with our own sin and God’s holiness in a truthful, honest way.

    Please pray that the cross of Christ would loom large in the hearts of the students.

    “Trials” by Aaron Milosch

    This past Sunday, senior Aaron Milosch brought us a great message from the Word on “Trials.”

    Listen to the sermon.
    Download the sermon.

    Trials involve:

  • the testing of our faith (James 1:2–4)
  • temptation
  • Why Are There Trials?

    Endurance
    James 2:1–4 tell us that they produce endurance in us. Hebrews 12:1 tells us that we are running race that requires endurance.

    Sanctification
    James 1:4 – Trials come into our lives so that we will result in a perfect person, a person who looks like Christ. God uses trials to form us into the image of his Son.

    For God’s Glory (Job 42:10)
    God had completely humbled Job through all the trials that he experienced. Yet through these trials, God reminded Job that God was the one who gets the glory because he is the one who gives life and deliverance.

    How Do I Respond To Trials

    1. Count it all JOY (James 1:2). We may only feel suffering, but God brings joy in the midst of it all.
    2. Hold fast to our faith (Eph 6:10–19)
    3. Submit (1 Peter 5:6–7; Matt 26:39, 42)

    Pre, Pro, and Post–Trial Training

    1. Fervent in prayer (Matt 26)
    2. Consistent in the Word (Eph 6:17; Matt 4)
    3. Bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2)
    4. Know that we have a great High Priest (Heb 4:14–16)

    The Importance of Walking In Christ

    Message given: 26 February 2012
    Text: Colossians 2:6–15

    Introduction

    Have you ever missed something that was right in front of your face?

    Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” Watson replies, “I see millions of stars.” “What does that tell you?” asks Holmes Watson ponders for a minute. “Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Horologically, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.”

    After a pause, Watson says: “Well, Holmes, What does it tell you?” Holmes is silent for a moment and then he speaks. “Watson, you imbecile,can’t you see that someone has stolen our tent.”

    Isn’t it easy to miss the important thing that is right in front of us? The scary thing is that we can be Christians here this morning and yet be missing the most important thing. We could be missing Christ.

    Have you been missing Christ? Are you trying to learn to do this Christian thing, doing a bunch of things and feeling guilty for all things you aren’t doing? Or are you simply seeking to know and walk with Christ?

    Walking in Christ is not just a good idea, or a smart move — it’s of utmost importance.

    Three Steps to seeing the importance of walking in Christ

    1. Know your Calling: Walk in Christ (v. 6–7)

    The Christian life in each of us begins by receiving a gift. And that gift is Christ. He was taught to us.

    Paul is not talking about “receiving Jesus into my life.” That idea of “accepting Jesus in your heart” is not a helpful way of talking about belief. The emphasis here is not so much on what you did, but on what was given to you. Christianity is a message that is passed down.

    Also, Christianity isn’t primarily a body of doctrines or set of ideas, it is a person, who is unlike anyone else (1:15-20; 2:2-3). It is simply Jesus, who is the Christ (the source of all spiritual blessing) and the Lord (the one who we submit to).

    Our Christian life then sprouts out of the message that we received for the rest of our lives. It’s like a seed that is given to us and planted in our hearts that continues to blossom.

    We are not walking for ourselves, but walking for Christ. This means that we are submitted to Christ. He is the one (and no other) who is to shape all our character and behavior. Christian growth will not occur in richer soil or on some stronger foundation than the Lord Jesus Christ. All the treasures are to be found in him (2:3). He is the source of our growth and the foundation we are built on. Do not be deceived into looking elsewhere.

    2. Heed the Warning: Ideas take you captive (v. 8)

    No one likes hearing warnings. Like when your mom warns you to watch out to not walk too close to the edge. It’s mildly insulting, right? You realize that she thinks you are not able to manage yourself on your own.

    Well, Paul gives us a warning here. And I know my knee-jerk reaction is to rationalize it away. “Well, that’s not for me.” But we each need to consider this warning, the threat that is before us.

    Why? Because Christ is that important. If we are going to see the importance of walking in Christ, then we need to hear this warning loud and clear this morning.

    See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Col 2:8)

    “Taking captive” is a word used to describe kidnapping, the carrying off a person as in the slave trade. How does he kidnap? The captivity comes from any set of ides or man-made system of beliefs that deceives you and leaves you empty. It promises, but doesn’t deliver. These ideas are worldly and “not according to Christ.” Any ideology that leads away from Christ will ultimately fail you.

    Philosophies that we can be attracted by:

  • legalism
  • theological knowledge
  • social Christianity (habits, lingo, “fellowship”)
  • individualism (be your own person, self-made, you’ve got what it takes to be who you want to be)
  • dating-ism (I can date whoever just for fun.)
  • We can tend to think that the gap is really big between these “philosophy” and Christ, but Paul is warning us that it is a fine line. The scary thing is that one who is being taken captive by these things thinks that they are walking and growing in Christ, but they are deceived. This means that you could be here this morning and think that you are on the right track, but you may not be.

    If we are going to see the importance of walking in Christ, then we need to heed the warning.

    3. Cling to your Defense: Meditate on the gospel (v. 9–15)

    Because the attack can come from all sides, Paul gives us a defense that centralizes us on the core.

    Your defense is three-fold:

    1. The nature of Christ (v. 9–10)

    All deity is found in Christ. There is not one ounce of deity found anywhere else. He does not share it with anyone or anything. It dwells in him bodily. This is an amazing reality of the incarnation. Because Christ’s fullness of deity, we have been filled. We are on the side of the Lord of the universe and he fills us.

    2. Your Union with Christ (v. 11–14)

  • You died when Christ died.
  • God’s resurrection power brought you back to life. This happens through faith. Faith is the link. In this new life, we are forgiven. ALL our sins.
  • 3. The victory of Christ (v. 15)

    He showed that these rulers have no power or authority. They are scams.

    Conclusion

    Let’s not miss the obvious. Walking with Christ is of life and death importance. We can’t afford to be kidnapped.

    Further Up & Further In

    Message given on 19 February 2012

    Text: Colossians 2:1–5

    In the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia, as the kids are making their way into the final frontier, they cry out to one another, “Further up and further in!”

    They had entered the real Narnia and now they were exhorting one another to press on still more. They didn’t want to stop. In fact, C.S. Lewis describes them as running, but never growing tired, so they had no desire to stop.

    In the same way, Paul in this passage is calling us to go further up and further into Christ. God is telling us, through the apostle Paul that we must strive and press on to know Christ.

    He says that he wants the hearts of the believers to be encouraged “to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.”

    So we can see several components of Paul’s desire here.

    1. The Encouragement

    He wants our hearts to not only be commanded, but to be encouraged. We can so often get into this way of thinking that only sees Christianity as things that we have to do. And when we realize how far we have to go still, we can get discouraged and guilty.

    Paul is coming to us who are sitting on the curb with our face in our hands and encouraging us to look up and see the greatness and richness of Christ.I’ve heard it said that people need to be encouraged more than we need to be commanded. When we are encouraged, we are motivated by joy to press on.

    2. The Reaching

    The ESV has “to reach.” The NASB has “attaining.” These words are trying to describe this active reality that needs to be a part of the Christian life.

    But what are we reaching for in our lives?

    3. The Riches

    “all the riches of full assurance of understanding and knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.”

    Here we see Paul’s full desire. He wants to give us confidence in our faith in Christ. The Colossians were tempted to think that maybe they didn’t choose the right road, that maybe there was a better option out there than Christ. But Paul makes it clear there there is full assurance in Christ.

    We do not have doubt that Christ is all we need. Guys, you can have full assurane in him. I encourage you to reach for all those riches. If you are wavering in doubt-land. It’s okay, but let me encourage you to press on to Christ more intimately and more fully.

    Paul’s greatest desire is that we would press on, further up and further in to who Christ is. He does not just mean to know more facts about him—unsaved scholars know many facts about him, but don’t believe a lick of it.

    The point of all Christianity is to know Christ. If you don’t have Christ, then you have nothing. In your heart of hearts, you have to want Christ.

    Everything we do is for the purpose of knowing Christ.

  • Bible reading: to know Christ
  • Prayer: to commune with Christ
  • fellowship & service: to express Christ
  • evangelism: to see others know Christ
  • IT’S ALL ABOUT CHRIST!! We can’t miss this.

    All we do here in ONE28 is not to make you look like good Christians, if that was the only goal, then I would quit my job. That’s not why I’m here. The ONE28 staff and myself are here because we want to see all of you know Christ and begin a life-long pursuit of him, reaching into all the riches and treasures of who he is in the gospel.