map
map
There is one way to be saved: By faith in Christ alone- hold fast to this

This morning I'd like you to turn with me in your Bibles to the Book of Galatians

-Galatians was written by Paul to a group of churches in the region of Galatia (a Roman territory) about A.D 49-50
-Paul founded these churches during his first missionary journey
-What's most fascinating is how Paul ended up preaching to the Galatians. In Galatians 4:13 Paul says; "As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached to you," Such examples the sovereignty of God who directs our steps that we might serve Him wherever we go. This is a solid perspective for us to always have.
-Martin Luther, one of the key participants in the Protestant Reformation loved this book. It was by the reading of this book- with it's clear message that one is justified by faith in Christ alone (comes into right standing with God) that he came to be saved.

The occasion for Paul's letter: A MAJOR PROBLEM! (Galatians 1:6)The church had been infiltrated by folks claiming to be followers of Christ and yet they were not. These people were telling the Galatian Christians that in order to be acceptable to God that in addition to believing in Jesus they needed to be circumcised plus obey a variety of other OT laws. Shockingly, the Galatian Christians were believing what they said.

The core message of Galatians (deriving from the problem that Paul addresses) is this: There is one way to be saved - by faith in Christ alone. To add or take away from this is to add to oneself the judgment of God.

A QUICK LOOK AT GALATIANS 1-2:10 (READ)

Structure: 1:1-5, 6-10, 1:11-2:10

LESSONS, PRINCIPLES, OBSERVATIONS FROM OUR TEXT- section by section

A. THERE IS LOTS TO LEARN FROM INTRODUCTIONS! 1:1-5

Note what Paul says and teaches us in 1:1-5

-We serve a living Savior! Jesus rose from the dead. Death is not the end -Jesus' resurrection guarantees this
-In Christ we belong to a huge family v.2 many "brothers and sisters" We too help each other and work together
-In Christ we have been made the recipients of the amazing grace of God. Because of God's initiative, love and grace, we are at peace with God. A peace made for by the shed blood of Christ.
-When the text says "from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" v.3 we are being told that Jesus is God
-Jesus came to save us! Jesus came on a rescue mission v.4

Galatians 1:4 reminds us of the angels words to Joseph regarding Mary "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:20-21

While the just noted points are all important, I'd like to draw your attention to Paul's mention of his CREDENTIALS

Paul's call and commissioning by Christ to be an Apostle: IT'S KIND OF A BIG DEAL

Paul was personally and specially commissioned by Jesus Christ and set apart as an Apostle. See also...

Ephesians 1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God"
Colossians 1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,...."
1 Timothy 1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Jesus Christ our hope"
2 Timothy 1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,"
Romans 1:1 "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus

By introducing himself in this way Paul is indicating the authority he had as it regarded instructing the Galatians and the others churches in the matters of Christ and our faith.

In addition to this Paul is also reflecting on the defining moment of his life- that moment when Christ appeared to him on the Damascus road and rescued him from his sins and the Judgment to come and then gave Him a very special mission- that of making disciples of those who were Gentiles.


Some application

1. We regard Paul's writings as the Word of God because of his apostleship (He saw Christ in a vision, He specially called by Christ. He specially commissioned by Christ)

2. As Jesus turned Paul's life around, this is what Jesus did in our lives. Think of the person you were before you committed your life to follow and serve Christ. Paul writes of this very thing in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 saying; "Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

For Christ's mercy in our lives, we praise God


B. THE OCCASION FOR THE BOOK OF GALATIANS- THE ASTONISHING DESERTION OF CHRIST BY THE GALATIANS v.6-10

The Galatian churches had been infiltrated and here we discover that no one was "guarding the gate" No one had stood up and said "These people are wrong, they have perverted the Gospel, don't listen to them" -In Chapter 2:4 Paul notes that some false teachers had infiltrated his group- they were found out, resisted and put out.

The Galatian error: Embracing a Jesus PLUS way of salvation. In particular the infiltrators- who Paul called false believers/fake believers- were teaching that in order to really be saved that all men needed to be circumcised if they wanted to be right with God.

We are called to faithfulness to Christ and to the GOSPEL message/the way of salvation that the Bible declares

There is only one way to be saved- we must stick to this message -Acts 4:12

An excursus: The Gospel Paul and the other Apostles taught that we are to hold on to

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Paul gives a brief overview of the Gospel message saying; 'Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

-Gospel means "Good news". It's the best news ever!
-The Gospel, if one obeys it, is a saving message- from our sins, from the Judgment to come
-It is message of love for while we were yet sinners Christ died for us
-The Gospel answers this very important question that Job asked long ago "How can a mortal be righteous before God?" Job 9:2 . The answer is Jesus and his shed blood on the cross on our behalf. When a person puts their faith in Christ as Savior and Lord the righteousness of Christ is imputed to their account so that when God the Father sees us, HE sees us in Christ and hence as righteous in Christ.
-The Gospel offends- for it declares that we are all sinners- and more than this, it identifies sin- and deserve the Judgment of God and Hell. Yet note this: While our message may offend, it is loving to warn people of the danger they are in, of the Judgment to come.
-It is a message of repentance- it calls us to confess our sins and sinfulness and to repent of them, laying them at the feet of Christ, who alone forgives
-It is a message eternal life. Be reconciled to God. In knowing Christ as Savior and Lord you have eternal life. (John 17:1-3)
-It is the message of Christ- of his Deity, of his sinlessness, of his death as a once for all sacrifice for our sins, of his taking the punishment we deserve for our sins, of his resurrection from dead.
-We are to guard the GOSPEL- neither adding to it or taking away from it


A SOLEMN WARNING: To those who add or take away from Gospel- upon them is a Curse, over them hangs the Judgment of God. Galatians 1:8-9

THE BIG POINT of v.6-10: Salvation, forgiveness, peace with God, right standing with God is by FAITH in Christ Jesus alone. Salvation is not Jesus PLUS. Salvation is by faith in Jesus alone. In Christ alone is the forgiveness of sins. To this message - the GOSPEL - we must hold fast

C. THE GOSPEL- WHICH WE ARE TO DECLARE- IS NOT OF HUMAN ORIGIN. Galatians 1:11-2:10

CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A MAN MADE RELIGION!

In Galatians 1:11-12 it says; "I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

We live in a world of man made religions- all making grand declarations on how to be right with God or how to lead a good life. Buddhism has its 8 fold path of enlightenment. Islam has its 5 pillars, Judaism relies on the LAW, Hinduism tells us to pick a path and practice Yoga if we want to become one with God.

Man made religions and their ways of salvation tend to be WORKS based- Christ's way is based on grace and faith in Him alone**


As for proving and being confident that he was preaching rightly - and he was concerned, for in Galatians 2:2 Paul writes of his trip to Jerusalem "I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain." Paul went to Jerusalem, told them what he was preaching about Jesus and the way of salvation and discovered that he was preaching the exact same message they were. This laid to rest the question Paul had and gave him great assurance that the GOSPEL is not of human origin but is the Divine message of Christ.

Do you have any doubts about Jesus and the Bible?

The Bible welcomes examination. Search for yourself. Study the Scriptures. Explore the person and life of Christ as revealed in the Bible. And, if you have any questions along the way, don't hesitate to ask someone who is a follower of Jesus for help.

Don't rest your salvation on some man made way- trust in Christ for salvation/peace with God/the forgiveness of sins is by faith in Jesus alone.


D. A further application from 1:11-2:10 Just as Paul had a story of the grace and mercy and saving work of Christ, so do we who name Jesus as Saviour. What is your story? Tell it to others!

Through Galatians 1:11-2:10 Paul tells us part of his story of how he came to be a follower of Christ. We know other details from the Book of Acts too.

Some highlights of Paul's testimony from our text

-former persecutor of Christ and the church
-very zealous for tradition and the Law
-somehow- set apart from his mothers womb (the electing and choosing work of God)
-Set apart to preach Christ to the Gentiles
-after becoming a follower and disciple of Jesus he went to Arabia, 3 years later he made a 2 week visit to Jerusalem.
-Went to Syria and Cilicia in the name of Christ- preaching the faith he once tried to destroy
-14 years later went to Jerusalem again- in response to a revelation
-it confirmed to him that he not running in vain (since he preaching the exact same message of Jesus and salvation that they were)
-His mission to the Gentiles confirmed with one addendum: Remember the poor! v.10

While this is a bit of stripped down version of Paul's testimony- for he writing with a very particular purpose in mind in Galatians- in defense of the Gospel- Paul's testimony is here for us to see. WHAT IS YOUR TESTIMONY? WHAT IS YOUR STORY OF THE GRACE AND MERCY OF CHRIST IN YOUR LIFE. We are to share this with others.


CONCLUSION

The Book of Galatians has a very clear message: There is one way to be saved: By faith in Christ alone- We are to hold to this message. We are to be faithful to Christ. We are also to take the Gospel message to others, all the while giving thanks to God for His grace and mercy in our lives.