The Divine Rescue | Galatians 1

Galatians 1 | The Divine Rescue

• What is the gospel message?
• What has the gospel done for us?
• Are you believing the true gospel or a distorted gospel?

Today’s message is taken from the letter Apostle Paul sent to the churches in Galatia. We are going to look at Paul’s address to these churches, where there is the infiltration of false doctrines.

I want to encourage you to read the book of Galatians. It’s only about 149 verses, 6 chapters and takes about 30 minutes to read. If you read a chapter a day, you will finish in less than a week.

The book of Galatians was written in AD 50-51 making it one among the earliest NT books.

Galatians Has Been Called:

• The Magna Carta Of Christianity
• The Declaration Of Independence of Christian Liberty
• The Cornerstone Of The Protestant Reformation.

It was in his studies of Galatians that Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation in 1517.

Galatians is a very different letter than most of Paul’s writings. Its tone is sharp, angry at times, Paul uses strong words, and his message crystal clear.

See Paul’s message to the these churches as he was pioneering this church in is first missionary journey: Acts 13:38-3938“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

Paul said, you are justified and set free just by faith in Jesus. However, false teachers had infiltrated into these churches. These false teachers questioned Paul’s authority and said that Paul had watered down his message. They said, “Yes, faith in Christ is important, but you also need to be circumcised, follow the Jewish dietary laws, and the sabbath. In other words, you Gentiles need to become Jewish first.” Now the believers at Galatia didn’t know what or whom to believe.

So Paul wrote them this letter to them to help them understand that

Jesus = Everything

Jesus + nothing = Everything!

It is purely by grace that we come into a relationship with God.

Galatians 1:1-2
Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers and sisters with me, To the churches in Galatia:

To Whom Is Galatians Written To?

Notice that churches are plural. Galatia wasn’t a city but a geopolitical Roman region in present southern Turkey, which included the cities of Derbe, Iconium, Lystra, and Pisidia Antioch. Galatians was written to a group of houses churches closely related to one another in the region of Southern Galatia. People wanted to live there because it was a fertile plain that was good for farming and Paul found it as a strategic place to reach out with the gospel.

Paul founded these churches in his first mission trip around 47-48 CE.

Then, Paul had gone to Galatia on his first journey, second and third missionary journeys. He planted these churches in Derbe, Iconium, and Lystra, and Pisidian Antioch in his first missionary journey with Barnabas.

The occasion of founding of the church at Galatia:

Galatians 4:13-15
13As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.

Acts 14:19-20
19Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

• Paul had an illness as he was at Galatia.
• Paul preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ.
• They dragged Paul outside the city.
• Paul gets stoned for preaching the gospel at Lystra and denying worship from people.

This is what Paul says in Galatians 6:17 I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. I think Paul almost died here. I am sure Paul remembered Stephen’s death here as he was being stoned. He had given approval for Stephen’s stoning. Paul got up and went back into the city.

Now Paul is writing this letter because false teachers had infiltrated into these churches and Paul is defending himself and the gospel he preached. Even today, the church is infiltered with false teachings and doctrines and there is a big need for true teaching of the word of God.

The Purpose Of The Letter To Galatians:

• Paul wanted to correct the Galatian believers of the wrong type of teaching that was spreading among them. Are you aware of the false doctrines prevalent in our days?

• To remain faithful to the purity of the gospel which he had imparted to them in his mission trip. Are you faithful to the purity of the gospel

• To continue to uphold the purity of the gospel. Do you uphold the gospel’s purity?

• To not be burdened by the Jewish cultural elements and subsume their faith by the Jewish culture. Salvation is not by works or following rituals, rather salvation is by faith in Christ Jesus.

Hence the result of their acceptance of the right gospel requires them to abide by certain ethical principles that is what in Galatians 5 Paul summaries as the fruit of the Spirit. Every Christian is supposed to bear that fruit in their Christian life and put to death the works of the flesh.

There Are Three Things Paul Quickly Gets To His Defense:

1. Apostle Paul Talks About His Authority.

Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers and sisters with me,

Here is the statement on his authority. In these verses Paul is making clear to his readers: Who he is, how did he become what he is, and what is he preaching, and how he has received his messages.

• Paul Is An Apostle.

Apostle means a messenger or one sent on a mission.

• Paul Is Not Sent From Men.

Paul was not “sent from men.” The Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father are involved in appointing Paul as an apostle to the gentiles. God the Father raised Jesus from the dead. In the resurrection of Jesus, God the Father was active. So God the Father, along with his son is involved in appointing Paul as an Apostle.

There was no committee that got together and decided that Paul would be an apostle.

Illustration: I remember my ordination. I had to first get my approval as a Christian worker in 2003, then after 3 years, I got the certificate of a licentiate minister. Ordination is the third level of recognition. I had to appear before an ordination panel of AOG pastors and the Executive Committee. A group of Pastors went through my ministry, call, and my Biblical foundation. Later in the District Conference of the AOG, they laid hands on me and commissioned me as an ordained minister.

Not so with Paul. He was not sent from man or “by a man.”

Galatians 1:11-12
11I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. Paul is referring to the Damascus road experience in Acts 9.

Galatians 1:14-15
14I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.

Paul received the revelation of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. However, Paul was set apart from his mother’s womb. You are set apart by God. Your calling did not come when you believed in Jesus, you were set part even before you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Parents, if you are worried about your children that they are not in faith, they are not serious about God, know that they are set part by God in their mother’s womb, you pray and God will touch them at the appropriate time.

Paul is very specifically telling the church that he has been called by God, sent by Jesus Christ and his message is from the Lord.

• Paul Is Not Alone In His Proclamation.

Galatians 1:1-2
1Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers and sisters with me,

Paul is writing from Antioch in Syria and he includes in this salutation a group of people that are with him “and all the brothers and sisters with me.” Interestingly, he doesn’t name them as he usually does. But he wants the Galatian believers to know that there are others who can attest to his apostleship, his authority, and his doctrine.

First of all Apostle Paul talks about his authority. Any preacher of God has to have this authority and a personal commissioning by the Lord Jesus Christ, then comes the church commissioning.

2. Importance Of True Teaching.

Galatians 1:6-7 6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Paul and Barnabas founded this church and returned to Antioch. It is while Paul was at Antioch that he gets a message that these new believers were being deceived by these false teachers. They were teaching that you need to follow the Jewish food laws, sabbath, and circumcision along with faith in Christ. Paul is denouncing false doctrine here. Paul was absolutely astonished that they would so quickly desert Jesus.

Paul isn’t going to stand for this for one minute. And throughout the letter he has some of the harshest language in all the Bible for these teachers that are perverting the Gospel.

Galatians 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.

Galatians 4:16-17 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them.

Galatians 5:10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.

Galatians 5:12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Purity of the gospel is what we must hold on to. Purity of the gospel is all about the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. This is the plan of the Father and we must live for it. Anything else that gets mixed with the gospel and becomes more important than the simple gospel of salvation, becomes a distorted and perverted gospel. Usually, it is the immature believers who buy the perverted gospel.

Illustration:

Immature believers are like small children. The problem with small children is that they do not know what is good and what is bad. When Sam and Grace were small, we had to be very careful as they would pick anything from the floor and put in their mouth. Children have the tendency to put everything they have into their mouth. But once the child grows and knows what is good and bad, the parents do not have to take much care in this regard.

The problem with new believers and believers who are not rooted in the word is that they will listen to everything and consume anything in the name of Jesus. Baby believers do not know the discern what is right and wrong.

Then Paul makes a very strong statement. He pronounces curse twice on these false teachers:

Galatians 1:8-9
8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Anyone who talks any gospel other than the salvation through Jesus and Jesus alone, is cursed. He only wants to distort the gospel in deception, their intentions are not good. One who distorts God’s message, one who tries to get the gospel of Christ corrupted is cursed. Most of the time when people dilute the gospel by brining other things and make people feel comfortable, that is for Paul pleasing men. So Paul calls Galatian believers to judge: Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? (you are the judge, judge me says Paul) If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

The believers have to judge if someone is preaching the gospel through self-interest, pleasing men, tickling ears or pleasing God. Paul says, “I am not bothered if human beings are happy with me or not, my single goal is to please God who has called me.”

The mark of a true bondservant of Christ Jesus is that he will try to please only the one who has commissioned him and the one who has appointed him to be the preacher of the greatest message of salvation that is entrusted to him.

Paul is telling about these false teachers and distorted gospel :

• Firstly, Their gospel may have Jesus.
• I
t may be coming from a church building or a church channel.
• Also,
their gospel may be pleasing to our ears.
• And, They are not the bondservants of Christ.
• Finally, They serve God out of their own desires and self-interest.

Paul is a bondservant who will only do the will of the master, and preach the purest form of the gospel that is given to him.

The Church Has The Responsibility To Teach The Right Doctrines.

The church has the responsibility of teaching the right doctrine and teachings. The church has the responsibility of refuting every false doctrine that threatens the true word of God.

Believers Must Discern The Word Of God.

The Berean believers are a good example who examined the scripture when Paul was speaking.

Acts 17:11
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Be careful to cross check every message with the word of God.

Attend A Church That Gives Importance To The Word And Rightly Interpret The Word Of God.
Do not select a church for your business motives.
Music and worship should not be your reason you go to church.
Ambience should not be the reason you go to church.
A pastor must not be the reason you go to church.
Do not select a church for social club, yes we need fellowship but primary we must go to a church.
Choose your church based on the preaching and teaching of the undulated word of God.

Stand For Truth Regarding Moral And Civil Issues Of The Community.

We believers must stand for the truth regarding moral and civil issues of the world. Also, we are God’s spokesman and spokeswomen and we have the mandate the speak the truth. Therefore, we must have a take on every issue of the world based on our biblical values, one must be bold to stand for the truth in society.

Do you know that every reaction of yours’ to your life circumstances is based on your belief system? You believe that rape is wrong, so you talk against it and act against. Likewise our response to every moral, civil, and legal situations are derived out of the scripture. Be bold to stand for it.

Paul is not afraid to say, “This is not right, that is not right according to the word of God.”

If you cannot say no to false teaching, you may be deceived.

False doctrines can come in three ways.

a. Influence Of Tradition And Culture

We are all brought up in a particular tradition and culture. As a child, culture, and tradition mold our belief system. Most of the time what I believe comes from what my culture says, what my church tradition says. Traditions are good. Keep the good ones. One needs to be discerning to see if any is contrary to the word of God and be willing to avoid such traditions.

b. Education

Education is good. Our children should get the best education. But education should not form our belief system. Our values and beliefs have to come from the word of God. Screen education under the lens of the scripture.

c. Self-Oriented Way Of Looking At Life

This is a modern one. Look inside of you, look at your feelings. This is a self-oriented way of looking at life and the gospel. Listen, any Christian content in the form of message, sermon, exhortation, article, or video that is aimed at making the audience comfortable and happy about themselves, falls under this kind of false doctrine. Such people take the Bible and make it palatable to people to feel comfortable in the condition they are in.

Our self is not our guide. Our conscience is not our guide. Otherwise, a mass murder can come to court and say, “I did what my conscience says.”

We have the word of God that is foundation to our belief system.

Form Your Values And Ethics From The Word Of God.

The revelation of the word of God is true knowledge. Now that we have the word of God, our conscience has to be captive to God and his word. You don’t let your conscience be your guide. Don’t let your tradition be your guide. Also, let the word of God judge your tradition and judge your heart. You do not even let the tradition of the church be your guide. Bring the tradition, culture, your conscience, and even the tradition of the church under the judgment of the word of God. Otherwise, the devil can deviate us from the true gospel.

The Galatian believers were deceived into a different gospel.

Ephesians 1:6-7
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and is turning to a different gospel—7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

They were turning back to a different gospel. The picture is like the Hebrews in Egypt who were rescued from slavery by God’s hand through Moses, crossed over the Red Sea and were enroute the Promised Land. But when they did not have water and meat, they wanted to desert God’s plan and get back to Egypt. They were deserting God’s purpose it and were going back to into slavery.

Paul is telling the Galatian believers that you too are doing the same thing.

The importance of true doctrine is needed in our generation. The church has the responsibility to teach the right doctrines.

3. God’s Initiative.

Galatians 1:3-5
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Here Paul is giving us the whole gospel.

What is the gospel? What is the heart of the Christian message?

There is only one subject, it is Jesus who is sent by the Father doing everything for mankind. Jesus who is the Lord and Savior brings solutions for our sins by rescuing us from the present evil age.

Galatians 1:3-5
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

God’s Initiative Through Jesus Christ

a. Jesus Gave Himself For Our Sins According To The Will Of The Father.

First, notice that Jesus was a willing sacrifice. God the Father has allowed Jesus to died and rescue mankind from their sins. Mark records Jesus’ words: Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

John the Gospel writer says Jesus’ words: John 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

In Paul’s letter to Titus, he writes that we are waiting for Jesus to come back:

Titus 2:13-14
13while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

b. Jesus Rescues Us.

Second, notice the purpose of the sacrifice:
Galatians 1:3-4 3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.

“..to rescue us from the present evil age.”

The word rescue is a strong Greek word. It’s the same idea used in describing the Israelites being rescued from Egypt, or Peter being rescued from prison, or Paul being rescued from an angry mob.

Illustration: There are highly trained rescue dogs that rescue stranded people in the forests. I have seen many fire fighters who have gone to rescue the trapped people of the building but end up dying because of suffocation and toxic inhalation. I have also heard reports of people who went to rescue others from drowning end up being drowned. Our rescue has a limitation.

Jesus is not on a physical rescue mission. Jesus is on a spiritual rescue mission.

Because of our sin, we are separated from God and we can’t be good enough to earn the relationship back. But Jesus died on the cross, for our sins, in our place, to pay our debt.

Imagine going to a doctor with a sprained ankle and the doctor says, “I’ll take that for you.” Immediately your foot feel fine but you notice the doctor is limping. Jesus, the only Person in all of history that didn’t deserve to go to hell. It was the only Person that fulfilled the law perfectly. He never sinned. But on the cross, He took our sins in order to give us His righteousness and rescue us from this evil age:

Colossians 1:13
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.

Jesus’ Rescue Mission

• Motive For The Rescue – By The Grace And Mercy Of God
• How Does Jesus Rescue? – Through Substitution.
• From What Does Jesus Rescue Us? – From The Present Evil Age

We are rescued from the present evil age now, by the death of Jesus and our belief in him.

Jesus holds on to God when he struggles on the cross.

  • We are rescued from the present evil age now, by the death of Jesus and our belief in him.
  • When you become a Christian, the things that are going to happen at the coming of Christ, are already beginning to happen now.
  • When you become a child of God, God loves you as much now as he will at his coming. You are no more in condemnation.
  • Live as the children of light.
  • We are the citizens of heaven.
  • Jesus rescues us

Why did Jesus do this? Sheer grace. We didn’t deserve it. We couldn’t earn it. But God accepted the work of Christ on the cross on our behalf. This was the will of the Father who loves you so much he’s rather die than live without you:

For Paul, resurrected life means: A new politics, new economy, a new way of being, a new way of doing, a new way of relating.

Do you know what happens when we live in our Christian authority, live in the right doctrine and bear testimony to the position we have in Christ?

God Is Glorified

When we live a new life in Christ, God is glorified.

Galatians 1:3-5
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The glory of God has to do with humanity. People are the image of God, they are the glory of God. They are to glorify God.

Irenaeus “the glory of God is man fully alive.”

So when we oversee God’s peace, God’s rule on the earth is what the glory of God looks like. We glorify God in that way. Paul sees that when gentiles turn to Christ, God is glorified. When we are in Christ, God is glorified.

God Is Praised.

See what Paul says happened when Paul did his ministry?

Galatians 1:24 They praised God because of me.

God’s name is glorified and praised. Our new life in Christ becomes a glory and praise for our almighty God who sent His Son, Jesus Christ to redeem us. It is God’s will that the whole earth turn to God and bring glory and praise to His name. Amen.

Conclusion: Apostle Paul is very strong in condemning false doctrine in the church. For that he talks about his authority, he talks about the importance of true teaching of the word, and the gospel itself “God’s initiative through Jesus Christ is to rescue mankind from their sins.

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