No Other Gospel(Galatians 1:6-10)
Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, November 4, 2018
A new, highly efficient system is being used by San Francisco and New York City to detect the presence of toxins in a city’s water supply, a possible sign of a terrorist attack. They have found that the best tool for monitoring such threats are bluegills, those little fish so many catch on a lazy summer afternoon.
According to an article by the Associated Press, a small number of bluegills are kept in a tank at the bottom of a city’s water treatment plant because they are highly attuned to chemical imbalances in their environment. When a disturbance is present in the water, the bluegills react against it. If the computerized system of the treatment plant detects even the slightest change in a bluegill’s vital signs, it sends out an e-mail alert.
Bill Lawler, the co-founder of the corporation that makes and sells these bluegill monitoring systems, said, “Nature’s given us pretty much the most powerful and reliable early warning center out there.”
We need a type of test with our doctrine as well. Our test is the Bible.
Some time ago a rash of flying accidents for single-engine planes occurred across North America. When a comprehensive study was conducted of the 44 most recent fatal accidents involving Cirrus aircraft, a few lessons stood out. First, all but one of the accidents listed pilot-related causes. Second, and most surprisingly, experienced pilots were responsible for a majority of the accidents. A few of the accidents were caused by pilots with less than 150 hours of flight time, but over 75 percent of the accidents were caused by pilots with over 400 hours of flight time. Apparently, these pilots assumed that because they already had a lot of hours under their belts they could cut corners and get sloppy. By contrast, beginning pilots with fewer hours were extremely careful, even painstaking in their preflight routines, meticulously inspecting every rivet of the airplane. They did it by the book. The study concluded that pilots who get overconfident and stop pursuing ongoing safety training are four times more likely to have a fatal accident.
Sometimes we as Christians are 400-flying-hour disciples. Accidents take place because we stop doing it by the Book. We stop studying the Word of God. We compromise on devotions …. We slump on allowing the standards of Scripture and the Holy Spirit to inspect every “rivet” in our hearts and lives. We go on day after day cutting corners, wondering why we lose power on the climbs, and we stall. Accidents may often be the consequences of thinking we know better.
Today, I wish to keep moving through Galatians. We are in our second sermon on Galatians.
My theme today is that there is no other Gospel.
My application is:
Doctrine matters and seek to please the Lord.
Let’s read Galatians 1:6-10:
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
In verses 6-7 we see Paul’s amazement and his rebuke.
Notice that Paul is amazed. Some translations say “marveled.”
He is “amazed” or “marveled” because they deserted God.
He is “marveled” or “amazed” because of how quickly they deserted God.
Notice that this happened quickly. Galatians is one of the earliest letters of the New Testament and Paul might have started that church on his first missionary journey, which might have been A.D. 46-47. So now it is likely A.D. 48-50 and they have already turned on their faith.
Paul goes further to say that they are deserting Him who called them. They are deserting God.
This calling being referred to is God’s calling on them. They are deserting Jesus despite the fact that He called them.
They turned aside so quickly after their conversion. Paul seems to be maybe accusing them of being fickle.
There is indication that they have been Christians for some time. But they still turned aside when these teachers or Judaizers came into the picture. The Judaizers were teaching that they had to follow the Jewish law to be saved. This is a Gospel of works and not grace.
If that is what Paul had in mind the issue was gullibility. They will believe everything they hear. The first thing they hear.
In Acts Luke describes Paul’s ministry among the Thessalonian Jews. They chase him off (Acts 17:1-9). Then they go to Berea and the Bereans are described as searching the Scriptures (Acts 17:10-15).
This word for call: not used to call someone but God’s creative act of summoning into existence things that didn’t previously exist.
Creation: God called, and they were created, same thing with God’s people Israel
God caused Israel to exist as His people.
God calls and creates the church today.
God called them into the sphere of grace or by means of grace.
They have deserted God’s way. They have turned to a different Gospel.
This happens quite simply. If we mix a little bit of a lie with a lot of truth we start to veer out of correct Theology.
In an interview with New York Magazine, Lady Gaga said,
What I’ve discovered is that in art, as in music, there’s a lot of truth—and then there’s a lie. The artist is essentially creating his work to make this lie a truth, but then he slides it in amongst all the others. The tiny little lie is the moment I live for, my moment. It’s the moment the audience falls in love.
This is why I make the case to you that Theology matters. Doctrine matters.
Remember that Theology is the study of God. Remember that doctrine is that theology that has been organized to form a set of beliefs.
These people are not swaying on small things. They have veered off to a “different” Gospel.
There are many topics where good Christians have held different views through the ages, we have held different views on: end times, the amount of God’s sovereignty in our salvation which we may call “election” and “predestination,” we have differed about eternal security, we have differed about spiritual gifts.
However, what the Galatians have gotten into is a serious matter. They have gotten into works-based salvation. They have gone from “salvation by grace through faith” to salvation by keeping the law.
The Galatians didn’t believe that faith was unnecessary. They thought faith was necessary to get into the faith and then you stayed in by works.
In verse 7 Paul says that some are “disturbing” or “troubling” them. The word for trouble: could mean frighten to create mental anguish or fear. This means severe mental anguish. This involves mental anguish in that it causes emotional stress. These people create great fear.
Paul says that they have “distorted” or “perverted” the Gospel. This has the idea of changing something to the opposite.
In verses 8-9 we see Paul’s judgment.
Paul says that even if they or an “angel from Heaven” should preach a different Gospel let him be accursed.
Paul is saying that it does not matter who teaches it, if it is a false Gospel it is wrong.
The people of Galatia might have been attributing this law based Gospel to the apostles from Jerusalem, but Paul says it does not matter. Even if it came from an angel from Heaven.
Paul gives a strong word for judgment. If it is a different Gospel they should be “accursed.”
Mormonism is an example of a religion that is based on revelation supposedly given by an angel and that teaches a gospel different from justification by faith alone in the substitutionary death of Christ.
Paul pronounced a type of curse on these false teachers. Later in church history this would include the idea of church discipline and delivering the teachers over to the world.
In verse 9 Paul repeats this idea. Paul said, “as we have said before…” This could be something he shared when he was with them, though he had just said it in the previous verse.
In verse 10 we see Paul’s defense.
Verse 10 Paul is saying that he is only there to please God.
Paul is a “bond-servant” of Christ.
This has the idea of being a willing servant of Christ.
Basically, we cannot serve man and Christ.
We must aim to please Christ.
Doctrine matters, we must take seriously proper doctrine.
Doctrine matters, we must study proper doctrine.
We must study the proper doctrine of salvation.
We must study the proper doctrine of God.
We must study other doctrines.
We must start by studying the Bible.
Then, we must study what Christian writers have written about the Bible.
Doctrine matters, we must guard the churches doctrine.
We must pray about this.
We must not be led astray.
We must lead church discipline on those that teach false doctrine (Gal. 1:8-9; see also 1 Cor. 5 and Matthew 18:5-7).
We must recognize essential doctrines versus things that are not as clear. In this case they were teaching a different gospel (verse 6). This was not a small difference.
Verse 10: We must seek to please the Lord.
This must be true in our personal life.
This must be true in our family.
This must be true in all other facets of our life.
Lee Strobel gives this example of something getting “lost in translation:”
I don’t know if you’ve seen the new machines they’ve got—you can do this on the Internet—that will translate English into whatever language you want. Type in a phrase and push a button, and it will translate it into French or Spanish or German or whatever. I’ve always been curious: How do you know the translation is good?
A guy had a similar question and did something fun. He took the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” typed it into the computer, and translated it into German. Then he translated it back into English to see if anything got lost in the translation. You know the song:
Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out to the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Crackerjack. I don’t care if I ever get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team. If they don’t win, it’s a shame. For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ballgame.
He translated it into German and then back into English. Well, something got lost in the translation. It sounds a little militant, like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Execute me to the ball play. Execute me with the masses. Buy me certain groundnuts and crackerstackfusig. I’m not interested if I never receive back.
Let me root, root, root for the main team. If they do not win, it is dishonor. For there are one, two, three impacts on you at the old ball play.
Something got lost in the translation. The same is true about Jesus. Something through the centuries gets lost a bit. I don’t mean the translation of the New Testament text; I’m talking about the way people perceive Jesus. Often Jesus ends up a caricature of who he really is.
We must beware by comparing all teaching about Jesus with the Bible.
Do you know Christ?
God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Adapted from Wayne Cordeiro, Jesus: Pure and Simple (Bethany House, 2012), pp. 121-122; Dave Hirschman, “Surprising Cirrus Stats,” AOPA Pilot blog (12-10-09)
Vanessa Grigoriadis, “Growing Up Gaga,” New York Magazine (3-28-10)
Lee Strobel, Meet the Jesus I Know, (Preaching Today Audio No. 211)