GALATIANS MESSAGE 4 – Saved by Grace – Part 2
INTRODUCTION: How do we preserve “the truth of the gospel”?
- Those are Paul’s words—“the truth of the gospel.” It is very important to note that he didn’t just say “the gospel” but that he said “the truth of the gospel.” Why is this then so very important? Because if you do not preserve “the truth of the gospel” then you have no gospel at all. We are saved by grace through faith—this is not our doing, this is a gift, no works. If you do not have “the truth of the gospel” then you are left with a gospel that is no gospel at all. You have a false gospel, a different gospel, a contrary gospel that leaves you under the curse of God.
- We will see this morning that every other gospel is a twist or a turn of the true gospel. Did you know that false teachers need the Bible to forward their agenda? False teachers depend on the Bible as much as those who preach the truth of God’s word.
- This is really not as strange as it may sound initially. Pick a church, any church—liberal, fundamental, charismatic, pentecostal, mainline denomination, independent. It doesn’t matter. I believe that you would be hard-pressed to find a church that did not provide some type of scriptural support for the gospel that they preach. Church people want their gospel in some way or another to be based on the Bible. So false teachers need the Bible or they will go nowhere fast. This is an essential truth in understanding the battle over the gospel.
- World renowned atheist Richard Dawkins doesn’t need the Bible to do his work. He doesn’t need Scripture to promote his anti-god, atheistic, evolutionary philosophy of life. Dawkins is number one on the Super Scholar dot com list of the top four living atheists in the world; the other three are Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Bennett. None of these men need the Bible to promote their anti-god agenda.
- Why? They are not wolves. To make it on SuperScholar’s list of influential living atheists, an atheist can’t merely disbelieve in God but also must actively encourage others to disbelieve in God. So, yes, they are anti-god and destructive and dangerous.
- But they are not wolves as the Bible speaks of wolves, such as the wolves the Apostle Paul warns us about in Acts 20:29 and our Lord warns us about in Matthew 7:15.
- These wolves we are warned about do need the Bible. The Bible describes wolves as false teachers who disguise themselves as sheep. Wolves need the Bible because it is crucial to their disguise. They have to blend in. Wolves are infiltrators. They are secretive and sneaky. All biblical descriptions.
- So to fight the good fight, we need to pay careful attention to what these wolves are up to. We need to be aware that it would not be unusual at all for a wolf to present a list of Bible verses a mile long because he needs something common and accepted in the church to twist and turn. Wolves distort the word of God. It is their modus operandi. It is how they do business. All false gospels are a twisted version of the true gospel. Wolves know that to be successful they have to connect with church people. So the wolf needs the Bible, or he is going nowhere in the church.
- How the devil must laugh at times when he sees how we are deceived by our own Bibles, when he observes our careless thinking and our apathy in our approach to the word of God. How tragic and ironic that the wolf’s most useful instrument on unsuspecting sheep is their very own Bibles.
- So back to Galatians … Paul had preached the gospel with great success in the region of Galatia in the cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe. Many had come to know the Lord, but now within a very short period of time—possibly only a year, some of the Galatians were turning away from God to a different gospel.
- What had happened? Well, the battle between good and evil had happened. The fight between light and darkness and God and the devil had happened. The truth of God had collided with the lies of Satan. False teachers cannot tolerate “the truth of the gospel.”
- And the clearer and bolder our preaching is of “the truth of the gospel” the more intense will be the attack of the enemy.
- So what are we to do?
—>Please turn with me to Galatians 2:1.
- We preserve the truth of the gospel by not giving in to the false brothers who twist the truth of the gospel, 2:1-5, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:12-15, Acts 15:1, 5, 24.
- We preserve the truth of the gospel by fulfilling our responsibility for the truth of the gospel before God first, 2:6-10.
- We preserve the truth of the gospel by rebuking fellow believers who waver on the truth of the gospel, 2:11-14.
- CONCLUSION: Do you remember our “That ain’t nothin’ guy”?
- He was the truck driver who always one-upped everybody else’s story with “That ain’t nothin’!” Just hang onto that thought.
- Do you know what WWF stands for? It stands for the World Wildlife Fund but was formerly used for the World Wrestling Federation until a lawsuit was filed against them by the current WWF. So the old WWF is now the WWE, and the WWE and other groups have promoted wrestling events that they call death matches. If you search online, you will find events such as the WWE Death Match! @ Wrestlemania 33 or CZW: Taipei Death Match 2 which pits Ian Rotten versus Axl Rotten or you may run across Cactus Jack versus Vader in a Texas Death Match. But these events … they’re not death matches … merely entertainment. Violent entertainment for sure, and probably really painful, but still just entertainment.
- So as our guy would say: “That ain’t nothin’!”
- What is something? In fact what is everything? The true death match is what the Apostle Paul puts before us in Galatians.
- Get the gospel right and live forever with God. Get the gospel wrong and there you are … dead on the mat. Not just kind of dead … not a game … no do-overs … but forever dead; never to rise again except to judgment.
- Have you ever connected the beginning of 1 Corinthians 15 with the ending?
- (1 Corinthians 15:1–2 ESV) Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
- (1 Corinthians 15:57–58 ESV) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
- Why does the Apostle Paul make such a big deal of “the truth of the gospel” in Galatians? And why do I make such a big deal of “the truth of the gospel” in Galatians?
- Because one gospel, and only one—the gospel that Paul preached—gives us that victory in our Lord Jesus Christ.
- With every other gospel, when the match is over, you are lying dead on the mat, still dead in your sins. When your life is over, you are bloodied and beaten by the lies of men, maybe even your own lies. You are damned and deceived and dead in your sins under the curse of God.
- Why has this battle gotten so intense? Because this means everything. This is no time for religious games. This is truth or consequences. Life or death. Blessing or cursing. The wonder and amazement of heaven or the terror and anguish of the lake of fire.
- Knowing and preserving “the truth of the gospel” means everything.