No Other Gospel [Groundrules]

Galatians: No Other Gospel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:07
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Paul's sentness inspires us to proclaim the TRUE GOSPEL.

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I am working under the assumption that we would agree there are many idols or gods that are worshipped in our society (not to mention the religions of the World). But have you ever thought that there are also many gospels that are believed to be the essence of Christianity?
I have identified at least 5 gospels that are preached in our own culture:
Comfort: God is a dispenser of health. This is the “god” that many people prayed to when Damar Hamlin collapsed on the Football field in Cincinnati. – because Hamlin was a nice guy and young, people prayed for his healing.
Convenience: Many people want a gospel that gets them to Heaven, but doesn’t inconvenience their lifestyle. They want just enough of God to ease their conscience. It was less than a month ago that many pastors were debating if worship services should be held on Christmas Day because their volunteers and congregants wouldn’t make the effort on a holiday. Perhaps you saw this meme on social media.
Currency: Faith and religious practices are a means to accumulate worldly riches. Too many preachers equate God’s blessing with abundant balance sheets.
Control: from the Moral Majority to current LGBTQ+ affirming congregations, many associate their “gospel” with political power. As evidenced that the way “white evangelical” is used in the media describes a socio-political identity rather than anything that could be identified as the evangel. The “gospel” of both extremes is to amass enough power to force compliance by those who disagree with them.
And finally,
Culture: In this “gospel” the purpose of the church and its members is to fight for individual freedoms. If the culture legalizes a behavior or issues a mandate, then the purpose of the church is to fall in line and bow the knee to “progress”. After all, you want to be “on the right side of history”
By identifying these 5 false gospels, my goal is not to demonize others, but for US to each identify what type of gospel we are preaching with our words and lives.
Transition: The Gospel being defended by Paul in the book of Galatians is God’s TRUE Gospel. The first description of God’s TRUE Gospel is found in v.3

God’s True Gospel is All of GRACE (v.3)

Grace is NEVER Deserved

We must start with first person grace – grace shown to me.
Then we can move toward second person grace – realizing I am a recipient of undeserved grace, I can extend the same to you.
Thirdly, when our fellowship is characterized by grace, we can view the people around us as objects of grace, and proclaim a gospel that can win over opponents.
Luke 14:23 ESV:2016
23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.

Unmerited Favor

Much of our witness is shaped by Matt 7:6 that tells us to not give dogs what is holy or cast pearls before swine
I believe we ought to turn 6 chapters to the right where Matt 13 describes a sower who distributed seed, and that seed fell on 4 different types of soil.
If you were hear last week, you heard how compassionate questions can extend favor to gang bangers, an Imam, a crusty sailor, and inmates in prison.

Overcome Ickyness

I understand that extending grace to others may involve being nice to people in situations that we consider icky.
There are some sins that are easier for us to tolerate (because they are sins that we could see ourselves committing).
Jesus extended grace to those in icky situations. He touched dead bodies, he reached out to the lepers, he helped up a woman caught in the very act of adultery.
Transition: The reason we can extend Grace is because God’s True Gospel is a gift.

God’s True Gospel is Merited by a GIFT (v.4)

Any grace that you extend, IN NO WAY reduced your Grace account. The Grace extended is resourced by God himself and draws on His limitless grace so that we can give freely. Every grace certificate, where redeemed for ourselves or given to others, is drawn from “the bank of God”
Deuteronomy 15:10 ESV:2016
10 You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.

Remedy for our sins

Some of us need to acknowledge Christ’s death for us and redeem a grace certificate for our transgressions.
I noticed the plural use of sins. Christ’s gift is not only for sin (singular) that occurred in Eden and has been passed down to us genetically, but ALSO for individual offenses that we have knowingly and unknowingly committed.

Remedy for the present evil age

Christ’s gift of deliverance is not only at death when we are delivered from the consequence of sin, but also provide deliverance in our present world.
You don’t need to live in bondage to your hurts, habits or hang-ups. You don’t need to succumb to “the Devil made me do it”. Just because others are jumping off a moral bridge, God’s gift makes it possible for you to remain firmly grounded if you are like the tree in Psalm 1.

Initiated by the will of our God

Before you became aware of your sin, Before you were born, before Eve ate the fruit, before Adam was created, God had a plan.
As a kid I would browse the toy section of the newspaper ads beginning in November to compile a Christmas list left out for my parents. Often my list was much more opulent than my parents’ budget. My wife has mastered this skill with the advent of Amazon feature known as “my list”. While we were away, Ann and I found out one of our two grandsons has a great affection for rocks. So, Thursday of this week a package arrived in LaCrosse with a segmented plastic box to organize rocks. This was not initiated by him. He never mentioned anything to us, but by the desire of someone who loves him and has the ability to meet his needs and desires. God initiated a plan for our deliverance before we even thought to ask.
Transition: God’s GIFT of GRACE is not primarily to make our lives easy, because FIRST

God’s True Gospel Reveals GLORY (v.5)

God’s glory has no deficiency

God is totally self-sufficient (what we call aseity). Before the first planet or star was created, God was already complete in love, mercy, holiness, unity, and all other attributes.
We don’t add to God’s glory, we become more aware and reveal what is already there. Text
In front of this pulpit is a beautiful flower arrangement. You may not have even noticed because Karen is so good at consistently placing beauty in our worship space. But if I turn on this flashlight and direct it at the white petals, we become more aware of the glory that was already present.

Our increasing awareness of His beauty

As we follow Christ in discipleship, our awareness of the extent of God’s grace that was given to us by Christ’s sacrifice continues to add lumens to the light we focus on His glory.
Each time we experience God’s forgiveness, each time we observe the Lord’s Supper, each song we sing that expresses His goodness in a different way, each time we are able to forgive an offense makes us more aware of how glorious the gospel is that emanates from our God.
Transition: Not only is God’s glory magnified in our awareness, but God’s gift is accompanied by a commission. Let’s go back and look at the first 2 verses of this book.

God’s True Gospel GUSHES FORTH (vv.1-2)

Apostleship Originates in God

The background to this book is that Paul had been sent on his 2ndand 3rd missionary journeys to preach the gospel where it had not been heard. Many turned from pagan ways and accepted the gift of deliverance.
Then a self-appointed group of “experts” took it upon themselves to go to these churches and insist that Paul’s Gospel was inadequate and that they needed to add to grace by observing certain rituals.
Paul asserts that he was not sent by men, but by God Himself through direct Revelation by Jesus to go as a “sent one”

Apostleship is God’s chosen method

God continues to send (appoint apostles).
Apostles can be used in 2 ways: Strictly it was only those who had seen the resurrected Jesus (11 in the Upper Room and Paul in direct revelation on road to Damascus), OR it can be used of ANY person sent by authority.
When you are sent to get your brothers and sisters to get cleaned up for supper you are being an Apostle.
3. God sends some cross-culturally, and God sends others out of the salt shaker and into our world.
Romans 10:15 ESV:2016
15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Apostleship is fueled by eternity & compassion

2 weeks ago our own Frank Hinkson mentioned that we need to move away from the temporal and focus more on the eternal.
10 days ago Damar Hamlin awoke after a tragic moment on the football field before a national TV audience. His first question was “Did we win?” The doctors told him, “yes, you won the game of life” I don’t want to be cruel, but besides the boardgame, nobody wins the game of life. Events may give a person more time, but eventually we each lose the game of life eventually. Eternity fuels our efforts to spread the true Gospel.
2. Last week my friend Dennis Hesselbarth led us in an exercise that helped us see the value of listening to thoughts and feelings of others.
3. Apostleship sends us to connect others with the God who loves them! One way we can strategically and specifically do this is to pray with and for our neighbors.
E.M. Bounds is an American author who died 110 years ago after writing 11 books. 9 of those books focused on the subject of prayer. 1 of those 9 is entitled Pray without Ceasing and included the quote “Prayer moves the hand that moves the world.”
"I'd rather be able to pray than to be a great preacher; Jesus never taught his disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.” - D.L. Moody


Apostleship results in more disciples

When we become more aware of the gospel it adds lumens to our focus on God’s glory.
When our awareness of the true gospel compels us as sent ones, it increases the number of lights magnifying God’s glory.
Our final song is a new set of lyrics, but it is a very familiar tune: Auld Lang Syne. Join me as we turn the gift of God’s grace into increasing Glory of Christ.
Song of Response ......... “All Glory Be to Christ”
Benediction: Galatians 1:3,5 (ESV) — Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ... to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
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