Not After Man

Posted by on Jul 30, 2006

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

July 30, 2006

Sunday Morning

“Not After Man”

Scripture Text: Galatians 1:10-24

Introduction:

 

A.   There is something very sad about the book of Galatians.

1. Remember now that Paul wrote this letter to a group of believers who had come to Christ as a result of his ministry.

2. You see, when Paul first encountered them, they were…

-heathens,

-idol worshipers,

-lost sinners on their way to hell,

yet because of Paul’s ministry, they had heard the gospel, they had placed their faith in Christ, and they had been gloriously saved.

3. Now you would think that because of their past relationship with one another that this letter would have been like a love letter from the beloved apostle to his precious children in the Lord, but it isn’t like that at all.

4. As we saw last week, Paul began this letter with a very stern rebuke for the Galatian believers.

5. Notice again Gal. 1:6-7, “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.”

6. In other words, he said, “I can’t believe it! I’m absolutely amazed that you would so quickly abandon the true gospel and adopt a perverted gospel.”

7. Doesn’t sound like a love letter to me! (Amen?)

 

8. And then, after rebuking these believers for abandoning the true gospel and adopting a false gospel, Paul begins a lengthy defense of his motives, his message and his ministry.

9. Why did he feel the need to defend himself?

10.   Well, apparently, the false teachers (Judaizers) who had infiltrated these churches had made some very false accusations against Paul.

11.   They had attacked Paul’s credibility, and in doing so had convinced the Galatian believers that he could no longer be trusted. (In short, they had turned them against Paul.)

12.   Any way you look at it, this is so sad!

 

B.   Now, this morning, I want us to focus our attention on the way in which Paul defended himself against the false accusations of the Judaizers.

 

C.   Notice, first of all, how…

 

I.      Paul Defended His Motives.

 

A.   Apparently the false teachers had attacked Paul’s motives, and they did so by accusing him of being a “man pleaser” rather than a “God pleaser.”

1. Notice how Paul defended himself against this false accusation in Vrs. 10 of our text, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

2. In other words, Paul said, “Who am I pleasing? Am I pleasing men, or am I pleasing God? If I am seeking to please men with my life, then there is no way that I can be a true servant of Christ!”

3. If you have ever studied the life and ministry of the apostle Paul, you know that he was not a man pleaser!

 

4. There is a very significant passage, as far as our discussion here is concerned, in 2 Cor. 11:24-25, where Paul recounts a few of the things that he had experienced as a missionary.

5. Listen to what he said, “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one….Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned.”

6. Why is this passage significant?

7. It is significant because if Paul had been a “man pleaser,” he would have never received “forty stripes save one,” much less five times.

8. If Paul had been a “man pleaser,” he would have never been “beaten with rods,” much less three times.

9. If Paul had been a “man pleaser,” he would have never been “stoned.”

10.   Do you know why Paul…

-received “forty stripes save one,” five times?

-was “beaten with rods,” three times?

-was “stoned”?

11.   These things happened to him because he was NOT a “man pleaser!”

12.   Paul was a man who was motivated, not by a desire to please men, but rather by a desire to please God, and he was determined to please God with his life, even when it meant suffering the displeasure (and wrath) of man.

 

B.   Paul should be an example to every one of us.

1. Are we “God pleasers” or “men pleasers’?

2. Are we motivated by a desire to please God, or a desire to please men?

3. When you are faced with a decision where you have to choose between doing what God wants you to do, or doing what someone else wants you to do, do you choose God?

4. Hopefully, we are all “God pleasers.”

5. Do you remember what Peter told the when he and the other apostles were arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin?

6. The high priest said, “Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine.” (Acts 5:28)

7. Do you remember how Peter responded? He said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

8. That was not only true in Peter’s day, it is true in our day as well. We “ought to obey God, rather than men!”

9.     In Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, he gave some very specific instructions to servants (slaves).

10.   Do you remember what he said? Listen as I read Eph. 6:5-6, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;…Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;”

11.   Are you “menpleasers,” or are you “servants of Christ”?

12.   Are you motivated by a desire to please men, or are you motivated by a desire to do “the will of God from the heart”?

 

C.   Why is it so important to be “God pleasers” rather than “men pleasers?”

1. The answer is found in 2 Cor. 5:9-10, turn there with me, “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him….For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ;”

2. Why is it important that we be “accepted of him” rather than “accepted of men”?

3. It is important because one day “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.”

4. (Illus.- But someone says, “Pastor, if I don’t fudge the books, my boss will fire me! I will lose my job!” Okay, but I will guarantee you that if you fudge the books, while you may keep your job, you will one day lose far more when you stand at the judgement seat of Christ.)

5. (Illus.- But someone says, “Pastor, if I don’t do drugs with my friends, they won’t like me, and I will lose them as friends.” Okay, but if you do drugs, while you may not lose your friends, you will lose far more when you stand at the judgment seat of Christ.)

6. (Illus.- But someone says, “Pastor, if I don’t have sex with my boyfriend, he is going to be angry and I will lose him as my boyfriend. Okay, but if you have sex with him, while you may not lose him as your boyfriend, you will lose far more when you stand at the judgment seat of Christ.)

7. It all boils down to this, “Whose favor do you want to lose? Do you want to lose your boss’s favor, or your friends’ favor, or your beau’s favor, or do you want to lose God’s favor?

 

D.   And so, we see how Paul defended his motives.

1. He said, “If I am seeking to please men with my life, there is no way that I can be a true servant of Christ.”

2. The same thing is true of us.

3. If we are seeking to please men with our lives, there is no way that we can be true servants of Christ.

 

E.   Notice, secondly, how…

 

II.    Paul Defended His Message.

 

A.    Not only did these false teachers attack Paul’s motives, but they also attacked his message, and they did so by accusing him of preaching a man-made message, a message that was of human origin.

1. Notice how Paul defended his message in Vrs. 11-12 of our text, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man….For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

2. In other words, Paul said, “The gospel that I preached unto you, the gospel of grace, I didn’t receive that gospel from a man, nor was I taught it by a man, but I received it by special revelation from God Himself.”

3. Now this raises a question.

4. When did Paul receive this special revelation from God?

5. Drop down to Vrs. 16-17, and let’s begin reading in the middle of Vrs. 16, Paul said, “… immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:…Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia,”

6. According to this, not long after Paul was converted, he “went into Arabia.”

7. This was before he went to Jerusalem.

8. This was before he conferred with the other apostles.

9. This was before he met with any of the leaders of the church at that time.

10.   It says that he “went into Arabia.”

11.   By the way, Arabia was a “desert” that was located south of the city of Damascus.

12.   Why would Paul, soon after his conversion and before he began his ministry, go into the desert?

13.   While we are not specifically given that information here, it is quite probable that Paul went into the desert to be alone with God.

14.   He went there so that God could teach him, by special revelation, the things that he needed to know before he began his ministry.

15.   I believe it was while Paul was in the desert, that he received, directly from God, the message (gospel) that he later preached to the inhabitants of Galatia.

16.   And so, Paul defended his message by saying that he had received it from God Himself!

 

B.   By the way, the gospel that we preach today, that Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, that He rose again from the dead, is the SAME gospel that Paul preached.

1. We didn’t receive it in the desert like Paul did.

2. We didn’t receive it by special revelation like Paul did.

3. We didn’t receive it directly from God like Paul did.

4. But it is the same message (the same gospel), and it is of divine origin (it came from God).

C.   This is why we shouldn’t be the least bit intimidated when we share the gospel with people.

1. We are not sharing our message.

2. We are not sharing the church’s message.

3. We are not sharing some human being’s message.

4. We are sharing God’s message!

5. Do you know what this makes us?

6. It makes us God’s ambassadors!

7. Listen to what Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 5:18-20, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;…To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (the gospel)….Now then we are ambassadors for Christ.”

8. Let us never forget that every time we attempt to share the gospel, we are representing the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

 

D.   By the way, because the gospel we share is of divine origin (it comes from God), it is able to save the most vilest of sinners.

1. Paul put it like this in Rom. 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

2. And then again in 1 Cor. 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

 

E.   And so, we see how Paul defended his message.

1. He said, “The gospel that I preach, I didn’t receive it from a man, nor was I taught it by a man, but I received it by special revelation from God Himself!”

2. Let us never forget that the gospel that we preach is the same gospel that God to Paul 2,000 years ago! (Amen?)

 

F. Finally, this morning, notice how…

 

III.   Paul Defended His Ministry.

 

A.   Not only did these false teachers attack his motives, and not only did they attack his message, but they also attacked his ministry, and they did so by accusing him of being a self-made, a self-called, a self-appointed preacher.

1. Notice how Paul defended his ministry in Vrs. 13-16, “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:…And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers….But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,…To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen;”

2. In other words, Paul said, “I’m not a self-made preacher. God had His hand upon me even when I still in my mother’s womb, and when the time was right, He saved me and called me to preach His gospel of grace.”

3. When you consider Paul’s past, when his name was Saul, when he was a persecutor of the church, you are forced to conclude that what happened to him on the road to Damascus and afterwards, it was all of God!

4. Paul was definitely not a self-made preacher!

 

B.   You know, while Paul was not a self-made preacher, many of those who stand in pulpits today are self-made preachers.

1. They are not in the ministry because…

-God called them,

-God chose them for the ministry,

-God saved them and placed them in the ministry.

2. In fact, many of them have never been saved.

3. Why then are they in the ministry?

4. Why then do they stand in pulpits Sunday after Sunday?

5. Well, to them, it is just a job (profession).

6. Some do it for the money.

7. Others do it for the prestige.

8. Still others do it for the approval of loved ones.

9. I’ve known more than one pastor who confessed that the only reason they became a pastor was to make mama happy, or daddy happy.

10.   Paul definitely was not in the ministry…

-for the money,

-for the prestige,

-for the approval of loved ones.

11.   He was in the ministry because God had chosen and called Him and placed him there!

 

C.   By the way, don’t think that just because God has not called you to be a pastor or an evangelist or a foreign missionary that you don’t have the responsible to share the gospel.

1. You may not be called to preach, but you are most certainly commanded to preach.

2. Just before Jesus ascended back into heaven, He gave His church their marching orders.

3. He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

4. We must remember that this commission was not given to the apostles only, but rather to the entire church.

5. Jesus said it like this in John 15:16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit.”

6. What is the “fruit” of a Christian?

7. The “fruit” of a Christian is another Christian.

8. You may not be called to be a pastor or an evangelist or a foreign missionary, however, as a member of this local church, you are commanded by God to do everything within your power to win souls to Christ.

 

D.   And so, we see how Paul defended his ministry.

 

Conclusion:

 

A.   Now let me go back to something I said when I began this message.

1. Isn’t it sad that Paul had to use this letter to defend himself against the accusations of the false teachers?

2. How did he defend himself?

3. First of all, he defended his motives by saying that he was not a “man pleaser,” but rather a “God pleaser.” He went on to say that if he lived his life to please men, he could not have possibly been the servant of Christ.

4. Secondly, he defended his message by saying that he didn’t receive it from man, but rather by special revelation from God Himself!

5. Finally, he defended his ministry by saying that God had separated him from his mother’s womb, and that when the time was right, God saved him and called him to preach His gospel of grace.

 

B.   As I close, let me ask you a couple of questions.

1. First of all, are you saved?

2. Someone says, “I would love to be saved, but considering the kind of life I’ve lived, I doubt that God could save me.”

3. You must not have been paying attention when Paul talked about the kind of life he lived before God saved him.

4. He was a persecutor of Christians (had them arrested and imprisoned, as well as killed).

5. If God could save Paul, He can certainly save you!

 

C.   For those of you who are saved,…

1. Are you a “man pleaser” or a “God pleaser”?

2. Do you live your life primarily to please yourself or to please others, or do you live your life to please God?

3. Remember, one day we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

4. How will you fare then????