I Marvel

Posted by on Jul 23, 2006

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

July 23, 2006

Sunday Morning

“I Marvel”

Scripture Text: Galatians 1:6-9

Introduction:

 

A.   (Illus.- A few weeks ago someone asked me the following question, “Pastor, what do you enjoy most about being a pastor?” I thought about it for a moment, and then I answered him like this, “The thing that I enjoy most about being a pastor is preaching and teaching God’s Word.” Now I realize that compared to most, my abilities as a preacher and teacher are somewhat limited, however, I still love it. Now don’t get me wrong, there are other things about being a pastor that I love as well, but the thing that I love the most is preaching and teaching God’s Word. Well, when I answered that question, the person that asked me followed it up with another question, “What do you enjoy least about being a pastor?” Without even having to think about it, I said, “The thing that I enjoy least about being a pastor are the surprises.” Not good surprises or pleasant surprises, but unpleasant surprises. What did I mean by that? I simply meant that as a pastor, every now and then someone within the church family will do something that I would have never dreamed that they would do, something very disappointing to me as their pastor. I love being a pastor, but I hate those surprises.)

 

B.   I’m not the only one who has to deal with surprises in his ministry.

1. The apostle Paul had to deal with surprises too!

2. Notice again the first two words in Vrs. 6 of our text, Paul said, “I marvel.”

3. Now what does that word “marvel” mean?

4. The word “marvel” as it is used here means “to be surprised, or to be astounded, or to be bewildered.”

5. It’s like Paul was saying, “I can’t believe it! I’m amazed! I’m absolutely dumbfounded that you would do such a thing!”

6. Now this raises a question.

7. Exactly what had the Galatian believers done that had resulted in Paul being “dumbfounded”?

8. They had actually done three things.

9. First of all, they had…

 

I.       Abandoned The True Gospel.

 

A.   Notice again the first part of Vrs. 6 of our text, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ.”

 

B.   Now before I say anything else here, I think it is imperative that I define what I mean by “the true gospel.”

1. Exactly what is “the true gospel”?

2. Well, according to Paul’s own words in Vrs. 6, the true gospel is a gospel of “grace.”

3. In other words, it is a gospel that rests (is based) completely on the grace of God.

4. Let me give you some verses.

5. Perhaps the most famous verse is Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:…Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

6. Then there is 2 Tim. 1:8-9, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;…Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace.”

7. Finally, there is Tit. 3:4-5, “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,…Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.”

 

C.   Now what does the Bible mean when it says that we are saved “by grace”?

1. It simply means that God saves us, in spite of the fact that we are absolutely undeserving!

2. And do you know why we are undeserving?

3. We are undeserving because we…

-are sinners,

-have broken God’s law,

-have offended God’s holiness.

4. The Bible says in Rom. 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

5. And so, we are undeserving because we are sinners.

6. In fact, if God were to give us what we deserve, every single one of us would end up in the lake of fire!

7. The Bible says in Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.”

8. The Bible also says in Rom. 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

9. And so, when the Bible says that we are saved “by grace,” it simply means that God saves us in spite of the fact that we are absolutely undeserving.

 

D.   But this raises yet another question.

1. If we are absolutely undeserving, how then can we be saved?

2. We can be saved because of what Jesus did for us.

3. I talked about this last Sunday morning.

4. What did Jesus do for us?

5. He died on the cross for our sins. (Amen?)

6. Look again at the first part of Gal. 1:3-4, “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,…Who gave himself for our sins.”

7. Paul put it like this in Rom. 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

E.   Now when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He accomplished at least two things.

1. First of all, He paid our sin debt in full!

2. The Bible tells us in 1 Pet. 2:24 that Jesus “his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree (cross).”

3. He not only bore our sins on the cross, but in doing so He paid for our sins in full.

4. The writer of Hebrews put it like this in Heb. 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

5. And so, first of all, when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He paid our sin debt in full.

6. But there was something else that He accomplished, and that is He purchased for us a very wonderful gift!

7. Let me quote Rom. 6:23 again, this time I will quote the entire verse, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

8. The apostle John put it like this in 1 John 5:11, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

 

F.    Now let’s go all the way back to my original question.

1. What is “the true gospel”?

2. It is a gospel of “grace.”

3. It is a gospel that rests completely on the grace of God.

4. It is a gospel that says even though…

-we are sinners,

-we are undeserving,

-there is nothing we can do to earn God’s forgiveness,

because of what Jesus did on the cross, if we will put our trust in Him and then ask Him to give the gift of eternal life, we can be saved!

G.   Not only is this the true gospel, it is the very gospel that the Galatian believers had abandoned.

1. It’s no wonder that Paul “marveled” (was so surprised)!

2. What “right-thinking” person would abandon a gospel that says, “You don’t have to do anything to be forgiven and go to heaven, except trust in what Jesus has already done for you.”?

3. Yet that’s exactly what these Galatian believers had done.

4. Not only was Paul surprised that they had abandoned the true gospel, but he was also surprised that they had…

 

II.      Adopted A Perverted Gospel.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 6 of our text, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”

1. And so, not only had these believers abandoned the true gospel, but in doing so, they had adopted what Paul referred to here as “another gospel,” which, in fact, was not another true gospel, but rather a perverted gospel.

2. In other words, they had adopted a false gospel.

 

B.   Now what do we know about this perverted gospel that the Galatian believers had adopted?

1. First of all, we know that it was a gospel of works.

2. Whereas the true gospel is a gospel of grace, this false gospel that the Galatians had embraced was a gospel of works.

3. In other words, it was based on good works.

4. To be more specific, it was based on keeping the law of Moses.

5. Apparently, these churches in Galatia had been infiltrated by false teachers that some have referred to as “Judaizers.”

6. Who were these “Judaizers.”

7. They were Jews who had professed faith in Christ as Savior, yet they continued to follow the teachings of the law of Moses.

8. In other words, they continued to be good Jews.

9. For example, they continued to practice circumcision (circumcise their male offspring).

10.   They also continued to observe all of the Jewish feast days, such as the Passover, Pentecost, and the feast of Tabernacles.

11.   They also continued to adhere to the dietary restrictions of the law of Moses.

12.   And so, they continued to be good Jews.

13.   Now this raises a question.

14.   Why did they continue to follow the teachings of the law of Moses, even after they had professed faith in Christ as Savior?

15.   They did so because they really believed that if they failed to…

-be good Jews,

-practice circumcision,

-observe the feast days,

-adhere to the dietary restrictions,

they still would not be saved and go to heaven.

16.   Now it was bad enough that these “Judaizers”were so misinformed themselves, but what’s even worse is the fact that many of them became “crusaders” and began infiltrating churches made up primarily of Gentile believers and convincing them that if they wanted to be saved and go to heaven, they too would have to become good Jews (be circumcised, observe the feast days, adhere to the dietary restrictions, etc.).

17.   That’s what had happened to the Galatian believers.

18.   Even though they had trusted Christ as Savior, they had been persuaded to abandon the true gospel (a gospel of grace, a gospel based on Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary) and adopt instead a perverted gospel (a gospel of works, a gospel based on keeping the law).

C.   But someone says, “Pastor, what’s wrong with a gospel that is based on keeping the law?”

1. The problem with a gospel that is based on keeping the law is that no one can keep the law.

2. Israel couldn’t keep it.

3. The Jews in Paul’s day couldn’t keep it.

4. We as Gentiles today certainly cannot keep it.

5. Let me ask you a question, “How many of you here today can honestly say that you have never…

-told a lie (not even a little white lie)?”

-stolen something (not even a pencil from work)?”

-coveted (wanted something that your neighbor had)?”

6. Well then, by your own admission, all of you here this morning are liars and thieves and coveters, and these are only three of the commandments.

7. The point is, no one can keep the law.

8. But someone says, “Well, pastor, I know I cannot keep it perfectly, but I can keep it to a certain extent. Wouldn’t that count for something in the eyes of God?”

9. Let’s let God Himself answer that question, turn with me to Jam. 2:10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

10.   In other words, if you could keep all of God’s laws except one, that one transgression, all by itself, would be enough to keep you out of heaven!

11.   That’s what’s wrong with a gospel that is based on keeping the law! (Because no one can keep the law, it is worthless!)

 

D.   Yet the Galatian believers had abandoned the true gospel (a gospel that is based on the grace of God) for a worthless gospel (a gospel that cannot save anyone).

1. How dumb was that???

2. (Illus.- How many of you have heard of the “Hope Diamond”? From what I’ve read, the “Hope Diamond” is the largest and most perfect blue diamond in the world, and could be worth as much as a quarter of a billion dollars. Suppose you were the owner of the “Hope Diamond.” How many of you, if you were the owner of this very rare and expensive diamond, would trade it to me for this piece of limestone? Sounds like a fair trade to me, one rock for another. The truth is, if you were to make such a trade, you would be extremely foolish. Why? Because you would be trading something of extreme value for something that is totally worthless.)

3. Yet that is exactly what the Galatian believers had done.

4. They had traded something of extreme value (the true gospel of grace) for something that is totally worthless (a perverted gospel of works).

5. I would say they were foolish, wouldn’t you?

6. In fact, notice how Paul addressed them in Gal. 3:1, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”

 

E.   And so, Paul was surprised because the Galatian believers had adopted a perverted gospel.

1. He was surprised because they had…

-abandoned the true gospel,

-adopted a perverted gospel.

2. There was at least one more reason why Paul was surprised, and that is because the Galatian believers had been…

 

III.    Allured By False Teachers.

 

A.   This is why they had abandoned the true gospel and adopted a perverted gospel, they had been allured (led astray) by false teachers.

 

B.   You know, the Bible warns us about false teachers.

1. In Mat. 7:15, Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

 

2. Paul put it like this in Acts 20:29-30, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock….Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

3. Peter put it like this in 2 Pet. 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

4. John put it like this in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

5. And so, over and over again God’s Word warns us about false teachers.

 

C.   How can we protect ourselves from false teachers?

1. Our best defense is to have a good solid (foundational) knowledge of the Word of God.

2. You see, if we know the truth, we are not likely to believe a lie. (Amen?)

3. Apparently, the Galatian believers had not be grounded in the Word of God, or else they would not have been so quickly and so easily led astray by false teachers.

 

D.   By the way, did you notice what Paul said about these false teachers in Vrs. 8-9 of our text?

1. He said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed….As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

2. Twice, Paul said, “…let him be accursed.”

3. The word translated “accursed” is the Greek word “anathema,” which literally means “cut off from God.”

4. Why such strong words for these false teachers?

5. Because false teachers are responsible for leading their unsuspecting victims into a Christ-less eternity.

6. I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes when they stand before Jesus at the Great White Throne Judgment!

Conclusion:

 

A.   What had these Galatian believers done that had resulted in Paul being dumbfounded?

1. Three things.

2. They had abandoned the true gospel.

3. They had adopted a perverted gospel.

4. They had been allured by false teachers.

 

B.   This reminds me of what the Lord said about His people Israel in Jer. 2:13, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

 

C.   In closing, let me ask you a couple of questions.

1. First of all, have you partaken of the “fountains of living waters”?

2. Have you obeyed the true gospel, which says that we are saved by God’s grace as a result of putting our trust in what Christ did for us on the cross?

3. If not, won’t you consider doing that this morning?

4. Secondly, for those of you who are saved, are you grounded in the Word of God?

5. If not, you are a prime target for false teachers.

6. What happened to these Galatian believers could very easily happen to you.

7. Don’t you think it is time that you got grounded in the Word of God?