Sunday Evening Bible Study
December 3, 1995
Paul is writing to a group of churches which he had helped to establish.
Note: When Paul preached the gospel in a certain place, he didn't just see who would "come forward", or who would pray "the sinners' prayer" with him. When he left an area, there would be a church established. There would be ongoing ministry going on in these peoples' lives.
After having established these churches, there were a group of teachers called "Judaizers" who came in and began spreading their own doctrines.
The Judaizers felt that a Gentile couldn't really be saved apart from first becoming a Jew.
They taught that after a person came to Jesus, they would have to then be circumcised, and begin to follow the Law of Moses.
:6-10 Another gospel
As our beloved Raul Ruiz would say, "It's amazing!"
lit. - "You are transferring yourselves"
Paul is blown away that it has been so little time since they were converted, and they are already going away from the truth.
It's my understanding that the cults will often work this way.
They will sometimes prey on the new believers.
Calvary Costa Mesa used to have Mormon missionaries sneak in and sit in the back, and then after an altar call, they would seek out the new believers and hit them up.
The Harvest Crusade also has had all kinds of groups try to come out on the field during an altar call, and try to pass out literature among the new believers.
What was Paul's gospel?
Gospel = good news, what good news?
The good news is that though you are a sinner, and separated from God by your sins, God has made it possible for you to come to Him and have a relationship with Him.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
What God has done for us is to have His Son, Jesus Christ, die on a cross, and in dying on the cross, He paid the penalty of our sins for us.
2Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
All we need to do to receive this payment for our sins is to believe in Jesus, and accept God's free gift of salvation.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
It's not about cleaning up your life, to somehow become worthy of knowing God.
We are totally unable to do anything to merit God's blessings on our lives.
It's only what God does for us that counts.
The idea of grace is what the gospel is all about.
What is grace?
charis - grace ;that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favour
It's based on: chairo - to rejoice, be glad
The New Testament idea of grace is that it's God's loving goodness that is shown toward us, not because we deserve it, but inspite of our deserving it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Our salvation comes as a result of God's loving grace.
We receive our salvation through the agency of faith.
It's as if faith is the hypodermic needle that injects the life giving serum of grace into our veins.
And even the faith that we have has been given to us from God.
Our salvation is totally God's work.
We need to keep this always in the forefront of our faith.
It wasn't because we cleaned up our lives that we got saved.
It wasn't because we stopped smoking or drinking.
It was only because Jesus died in our place, while we did not deserve it, and we have accepted His payment on our behalf.
It's important to keep in mind how we began, in order to understand how we continue.
Read How Grace Changes Everything, page 40.
These Judaizers were preaching another message than what Paul preached.
RWP: These men as in #2Co 11:4 preach
"another Jesus" and a "different gospel" and so have fallen away
from grace and have done away with Christ (#Ga 5:4).
2Co 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Ga 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Paul uses another word in the Greek here than "another" used in verse 6.
in verse 6 - heteros - the other, another, other; to quality, another: i.e. one not of the same nature, form, class, kind, different
in verse 7 - allos - another, other, as compared with heteros denotes numerical in distinction from qualitative differences
In other words, Paul is saying in verse 6, that these guys are preaching a completely different gospel, but in verse 7 he's saying that it's not just one more gospel, it's not good news, it's bad news!
trouble - tarasso - to agitate, trouble (a thing, by the movement of its parts to and fro); to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity; to perplex the mind of one by suggesting scruples or doubts
These Judaizers had moved in on the Galatian churches, and where there had been peace of mind in these believers, there were now all kinds of doubts and anxieties.
Difference between grace and legalism - anxiety
When our relationship with God is totally dependant upon God's work for us, then there can be peace.
When our relationship with God is dependant upon our keeping of some code or law, then we're constantly having to be on guard, and worried about falling short.
If you have anxiety over whether you're right with God or not, maybe you've strayed into legalism.
I'm not saying this to start making you worry about losing your salvation, but because maybe we need to rediscover God's grace instead.
pervert - metastrepho - to turn around, turn around
How was it perverted?
Instead of the gospel being all about what God has done for us, it becomes all about what we must do for God.
More than one cult has been started by someone claiming to have new revelation from "an angel".
1) a thing set up or laid by in order to be kept
1a) specifically, an offering resulting from a vow, which after being consecrated to a god was hung upon the walls or columns of the temple, or put in some other conspicuous place
2) a thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed, and if an animal, to be slain; therefore a person or thing doomed to destruction
2a) a curse
2b) a man accursed, devoted to the direst of woes
It's the word in the LXX used to describe the stuff in Jericho that was "under the ban", the things that were set aside to be destroyed, and were not to be touched.
God doesn't take lightly those who pervert the gospel
Charles Edward Pugh exclaimed before his death, "The Christian way is horse sense. It is sanity. And anyone who thinks otherwise is a damned fool, and I am not swearing when I say that."
On a cold winter day in 1986, Diane Elsroth entered a store in Bronxville, New York looking for something to relieve her pain. She bought a bottle of medicine, not knowing that someone had opened the bottle's tamper-resistant wrapping, tainted the capsules with cyanide, and returned them to the store's shelf. Within a short time after Elsroth left the store, the cyanide-laced capsules killed her.
Like a medicine mixed with cyanide, a perverted gospel has the power to kill rather than make whole.
Do you think that Paul is very serious about this?
Do you think we ought to be serious about this as well?
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Apparently one of the many accusations made against Paul was that his gospel was just a message designed to please people.
Paul responds to say that if he was living to please people, he would never become a servant of Christ.
Most of the time, the last thing the people in the world want is for you to be a servant of the Lord.
Be careful about living to please people rather than God.
An old fable that has been passed down for generations tells about an elderly man who was traveling with a boy and a donkey. As they walked through a village, the man was leading the donkey and the boy was walking behind. The townspeople said the old man was a fool for not riding, so to please them he climbed up on the animal's back. When they came to the next village, the people said the old man was cruel to let the child walk while he enjoyed the ride. So, to please them, he got off and set the boy on the animal's back and continued on his way. In the third village, people accused the child of being lazy for making the old man walk, and the suggestion was made that they both ride. So the man climbed on and they set off again. In the fourth village, the townspeople were indignant at the cruelty to the donkey because he was made to carry two people. The frustrated man was last seen carrying the donkey down the road.
We smile, but this story makes a good point: We can't please everybody, and if we try we end up carrying a heavy burden. Well- meaning Christians may offer us advice, and much of it is valuable. But when we try to do everything other believers want us to do, we can easily become frustrated and confused. That's why we need to remember that the One we must please above all others is Christ. And we do that by obeying God's Word.
If we're trying to please people, we're gonna have a crazy time keeping them happy!
Samuel Johnson once wrote, "Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome."
Know who you work for
By the way, it's Jesus:
Colossians 3:22-24 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.