The Exclusivity of the Gospel

The Exclusivity of the Gospel

Amen. And thank you. Pastor Steve, and so many others. You may not know, but yesterday we actually had our annual pastors and deacons retreat.

And so that the pastors and deacons of this church were here at the church house at 8 a.m. in the morning. And we were planning and we spent we were here well past lunch planning and talking about the future direction of our church. So if you see a deacon, if you see a pastor this Sunday morning, just go to shake their hand and say thank you for being here.

I was out playing in the snow. You were here serving the Lord this morning. As we start our time would you agree with Pastor John MacArthur’s statement here this morning about this, that the most destructive danger to the church has never been theism, pagan religions or cults that openly denied the scripture, but rather supposedly Christian movements that accept so much biblical truth that their own scriptural doctrines seem relatively insignificant and harmless as.

But a single drop of poison in a large container can make all the water lethal and a single false idea that in any way undercuts God’s grace, poisons the whole system of belief. Just that soak in for a moment is the most dangerous thing. The UN’s scriptural doctrines, not atheism, not paganism or cults or other false religions, but rather false teachings, especially around gospel of Jesus Christ.

I personally tend to agree with Pastor MacArthur on this one. If you let just a little bit of poison into the well, you can kill a whole lot of folks real quickly. So if the danger is really great and then I think that you would agree with me that that aspirations here at Berean Baptist Church, we should be vigilant about guarding and protecting this core truth.

And that’s part of what we’re doing here this year. And our church series this year on Growing in Faithfulness as a church. We want to be found faithful, faithful in so many things, in so many ways. We want to be faithful in sharing the gospel and knowing what it is and rooting all that we do in the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.

So we’re looking at the book of Galatians. We’re going to look at other books this year around this theme of trying to, as a church, grow in our faithfulness because healthy things grow God designed does to be growing as a as a church and as individuals. We should be growing. And this year we’re to grow in our faithfulness. And so we’re starting off this year’s series, growing in our Faithfulness, by seeing what is it to faithfully follow the true gospel.

And what we’re doing is a verse by verse exposition of the book of Galatians here this morning and this morning, as we look at verses one through ten, we’re going to see the exclusivity of the gospel exclusivity is not a word that our society likes at all. In fact, inclusivity is the word of the day, and the goal is to be as inclusive as you can with everything that you do and everything that you say.

In fact, some of you might even work at businesses. One of the key metrics of success is DEI – diversity, equity and inclusion. Now, make no mistake, the gospel is for all people at all times. It is a very inclusive message that way. But the message of the cross is very exclusive. There is only one way to salvation and we’re going to see it here this morning.

There are not many paths, but just one follow along with me as I read in Galatians beginning in chapter one, verse one, all the way to verse ten, this is the word of the Lord. Paul, an apostle, not for men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God, the Father who raised him from the dead, and all the brothers who are with me to churches of Galatia Grace to you in peace from God, our Father in the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father to Him, be the glory forever and ever.

Amen. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him. Who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel? Not that there is another one, but some of you who trouble you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from Heaven should preach to you a gospel that is contrary to the one that we preach to you, let him be accursed as we’ve said before.

So I say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one that you received, let him be accursed for Am I now seeking the approval of man or of God, or am I trying to please man? If I were trying to please, man, I would not be a servant of Christ. We’re looking at the exclusivity of the gospel and the first point from our text here this morning is that the Gospel is all about God’s glory.

Now, part of preaching is that when we study a book, verse by verse, that that doesn’t always mean that our points come in sequential order. And our first point here this morning is actually found. The main point is found in verse five, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Honestly, we could spend an entire 12 weeks of a series just looking at studying and examining the glory of God.

It’s one of the most important yet often overlooked, misunderstood sections of Christian theology. But from the beginning of the Bible, all the way to the end, we see that God is working all things for His glory. I think, for example, in Isaiah 40 through 48, one of the most powerful and well known sections of Scripture, the Lord says this about His glory.

I am the Lord that is my name, my glory. I do not give to another, nor my praise to carved idols. You see, God is jealous and He’s zealous for His own glory. He will not share those children we were taught to share all the time. You might have young children and you’re teaching them to share what they have with other people because they want to be a blessing.

But for God to share His glory with anything or anyone, that would be wrong. Because He is the only one that is rightly due. The praise of his name. For him to share his glory would be evil. But then why is the Gospel primarily about the glory of God? John Piper and his most well-known book, Desiring God puts it this way, But God’s saving designs are ten ultimate meaning.

They’re not ultimate. Redemption, salvation and restoration. They’re not God’s ultimate goal. These He performs for the sake of something greater, namely the enjoyment that He has in glorifying himself. See the bedrock of Christian hedonism. A way of thinking about how to organize our lives is not God’s allegiance to us, but to Him. Not really is. For many that might be a new message that the gospel.

It’s not primarily about you and it’s primarily about me. It’s primarily about making God look really good. But we have to understand, your brothers and sisters, that as we embark on this study of the exclusivity of the gospel, this story is not primarily about you. It’s primarily about how amazing God looks when he saves wicked sinners like you and me.

Now, that isn’t to say that the Gospel isn’t about God’s glory. Milton Vincent and his book, The Gospel Premiere, puts it this way, though the Bible indicates that outside of heaven, the glory of God in its thickest density dwells inside the Gospel. It’s for this reason that the Gospel is described in Scripture as the gospel of the glory of Christ and the Gospel of the glory of the blessed God.

So if you want to see the most important display of God’s glory and how amazing He is, you look to the good news of Jesus Christ in his saving work on the cross. A God is most glorified when He is saving sinners. My hope here this morning, just as we heard from a missionary last week, is that as we hear in the following verses, at least a basic presentation and communication of the gospel, that if someone asked you today, I hear you talking about this gospel, that as a result of our time here this morning, that you would be able to share the most essential aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And it starts with this in our passage verse that Jesus was raised from the dead. Now there’s an entire story that is being overlooked here and condensed. Christ Advent, his earthly ministry, are being skipped to make this core and essential point. He is condensing the gospel message because those things, while important, are not the most important. Christ did miracles to prove who he was, but that’s not what the Gospel is all about.

He taught as one who had authority, but his coming to Earth wasn’t about his teaching ministry. And then, even as we sang here this morning, died. But it wasn’t until the resurrection of Christ that we clearly see that there was something different here, either godly prophets had been killed or either godly prophets had performed miracles. They had spoken with authority, but it was only Jesus Christ whom God, the Father raised from the dead, that there is something different and unique that is being displayed.

God raised Christ from the dead because He was perfect. He was without spot. He was out without wrinkle death, had no claim on him. See, each and every one of us death has a claim because everybody here is a sinner and everybody here worthy of God’s wrath. The Bible would put it this way There is none Righteous. No, not even one.

And death was the ultimate punishment, the ultimate form of the curse. And yet when Christ was murdered, death had no claim on him because he was righteous. Paul, elsewhere in the Great Resurrection chapter would put it this way In first Corinthians 15, when the perishable puts on the end perishable and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come about the saying that is written death is sworn load up in victory or death.

Where is your victory or death? Where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, the first thing that we need to see is that the Gospels are all about the glory of God and the and the glory of God begins with Christ being resurrected from the dead because He is the righteous one.

But then why did he have to die in the first place? Paul tells us so that we would be delivered from sin. You and I, we were in our sin and we needed some way out. And the only way that we were going to get out is that someone would pay the price for us. It’s he who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age according to the will of God, our father.

Now, some folks don’t like saying that Christ came to die. Some folks don’t like hearing that in our modern ears. But. But those words actually came right from the mouth of Christ, for even the son of man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. It’s what theologians call substitution area or vicarious atonement simply means that Christ suffered as our substitute for us, that is, instead of us resulting in the advantage to us paying for our sins.

The man could not atone for his sins personally, or man could only atone for his sins personally if he could suffer eternally the penalty that sin occurred. This man could never do this. So in his love and compassion, God stepped into a hopeless situation and provided a vicar in Jesus Christ who did provide the eternal satisfaction for sin.

Now there’s a beauty of the gospel. The glory of the Gospel is that he died delivering you from your sin because he stepped in your place. And in order for us to understand the exclusivity of the gospel, we need to see there was no other way that our sins could be paid for. John MacArthur puts it this way The heart of the Gospel is Christ willing sacrifice of Himself for our sins.

Salvation is not earned by one’s effort to eliminate sin, but by one’s trust in God’s promise to forgive sin through the work of Jesus. So that’s what happened. He was raised. He was delivered over for our sin, ultimately, so that we could be called to salvation. That means it’s possible for everybody here today to be saved. You don’t need to earn it.

God will save you from your sin. And the problem at the church that Paul was writing to is that they had distorted this message. I must astonished that you are so quickly deserting him. Who called you in the grace of Christ? Now, can we agree if you’re going to do something amazing, you’re going to wow the Apostle Paul that deserting the gospel.

That is not something amazing that you want to do. But that’s exactly what happened in this local church. Paul had come he had preach the gospel and people were saved. People were baptized. People were added to the church. And then Paul did what he normally did. He left. He went to go plant another church. And word gets back to him that they have abandoned the soul message of Christ crucified.

His choice of words here are pretty stark, and the term behind deserting was used of a military desertion which was punishable by death during times of war, much as it is in modern times. The Greek verb is reflective, indicating the act is voluntary. See, the believers were not being passively removed, but were in the process of removing themselves from the sphere grace.

The false teachers were accountable for the corruption of God’s truth. But the Galatians Christians were also accountable for being so easily misled to pursue legalism. Paul was pretty upset at this distortion, and so should we when we see it, because ultimately it’s an affront to the glory of God. As we’ve been saying that the Gospel is all about God’s.

He looks amazing when sinners are saved through his son. But when people add to or subtract to it, it’s evil for sure. I think there’s two ways to apply this text to our lives here this morning. The first is rather simple, obvious. There may be persons here today who do not yet know Christ as their Lord and Savior.

To you, I say, listen to you and look at this gospel, and I pray that your hearts would be transformed. There’s nothing that any of us or you can do to save yourself. Only Christ can save you. And by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ in his death, burial and resurrection, you can know that you have salvation. I know myself, one of the other pastors and many of the people in this room would love to talk to you.

If you want to know more about salvation for the believer who’s already trusted in Christ. Let me remind you then of the simplicity and the purity of the gospel as our application here. And let me do that by borrowing an illustration from D.A. Carson, one of the leading theologians of our day. And we’re going to do that by harkening back in our minds for a moment to the land of Egypt when the children of Israel were in slavery right before the 10th plague, when God said he was going to kill the first born in every household.

Just imagine that scene for a moment and then get in your mind a conversation between two Jewish men the night before the Passover. Let’s name them John and Bob. Remarkably, Jewish names.

And John asked Bob, are you ready for the Passover tonight? And Bob, with confidence, says, Yeah, I’m ready. Are you? And John says, Well, I am a little bit afraid. And Bob asked, What have you done all that the Lord requires through his servant, Moses, Have you slaughtered the lamb? Have you have you dabbed the blood upon the door?

Have you done all that is needed in order for you to be saved? And John says, Well, yeah, I’m not stupid, of course I’ve done those things. But it’s easy for you to be confident. You have six other sons, and I’ve. I’ve only got one son. And now that my wife is gone, if I lose him, I lose everything.

Bob smiles back at John and says, Bring it on. I trust in the promises of God. Now, that night, as the angel death sweeps over the land, whose son dies. And the answer, of course, is neither. All right, that doesn’t pass over because of the intensity or the claim already of faith that is exercised, but it’s only because of the blood of the lamb applied if the blood is applied to your life.

Dear Christian, then you are saved. Yes. We need to work towards growth in holiness. But let us not forget that salvation is simple. It does not require intense clarity or intensity of faith to be saved. Merely having the right object. And in this case, the blood of the son of lamb applied to your life. The Gospel is all about God’s glory.

It’s all about us being saved. The second thing is this The gospel message cannot be distorted. The gospel message cannot be distorted. We’re not going to have time to cover what that distortion is. We will get to it later in a future sermon. But as you can tell and as you remember, Paul was pretty honked off as said before.

So I say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one that you received, let him be accursed. Now, that might sound pretty powerful and jarring to us, but what Paul was saying is that anybody who preaches a different gospel, the one I sent you, he needs to be cut off, cut off or coerced.

Paul was serious about this effect. We actually see how serious he was about it. When we begin to look at other letters that he penned to other churches and noticed what was uniquely different about the situation the Galatians were in and how Paul treated them. In most of Paul’s letters, the introductory salutation is followed by words of Thanksgiving to God for some feature of the recipient’s life or faith.

Usually with the verb Eucharist, though, right? I thank God we thank God. Over and over he uses this verb, but Galatians is the solitary example. It plunges at once into words of remonstrance because the Galatians have departed from the Gospel of Christ. There can be no Thanksgiving. Instead, a curse is pronounced anyone who brings another message. So Paul is worked up, and he’s worked up because the Gospel.

Because the gospel, it has supernatural origins. We saw that right there in verse one of opening section here, Paul, an apostle, not for men, not through man, but through Jesus Christ and God, the father who raised him from the dead in the days of the early church. There was some debate and some struggle, just like there is today, about what is the gospel.

Well, we don’t have time to trace through the process by which we’ve come to recognize the Bible that you have as canon from God. Paul was telling the church his message. It didn’t ultimately come from him. It came directly from God. And by claiming to be an apostle, what he’s saying is that he has seen the risen Christ and he’s been commissioned personally and directly by him.

Now, today, of course, obviously we’ve all been commissioned in the Great Commission to share the good news. But none of us are apostles. When see churches giving titles to men that are apostles. That is inappropriate because no living man has seen the risen Christ and no living man has been personally commissioned by him. Those who knows how John MacArthur makes this point, he says, Because the Apostles teachings came directly from the Lord, the writings of Paul, Peter and John and the others are very much divinely inspired and authoritative as the words that Jesus spoke and his personal and his person during his earthly ministry.

It’s for this reason that red letter Bibles may be misleading. Why? Because they suggest that the words Jesus spoke during his three year earthly ministry are in some way more inspired and more precious than the other parts of Scripture. So the message that Paul was preaching to them, it was divine. Finally inspired meaning, in essence, at the end of the day, it is the message, not the messenger, that ultimately matters.

The gospel preached by Paul. It’s not the true gospel because it’s Paul who preaches it. It’s the true gospel because the risen Christ gave it to Paul to preach. The Gospel has supernatural origins, beloved, and the message that we cling. It doesn’t come from men. It comes from God. Now, God no doubt used man in the transmission and the preaching of his word.

But as Peter would remind us, knowing first of all, no prophecy of Scripture come from one interpretation. For no prophet was ever produced by the will of man. But men spoke from God as they were being carried along by the Holy Spirit. So the word that you have, it comes directly from God as. He used men to deliver it.

Which is why then what the Galatians were doing in the warping of the message. It is ultimately trouble then for the believer. The warping of this gospel message brings trouble to the Galatians. Not that there is another message, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel. Now, that was in direct opposition. There’s a play on words happening here in verse three that is trying to highlight the peace that the gospel brings.

And these men, they’re bringing you trouble. The gospel is meant to bring us peace. Bring us peace with God. The distortion of the gospel. It brings trouble. So it’s a good time for us as a church to ask ourselves to pause and to remember that any distortion in the gospel, any distortion in our lives, either adding to or taking away from it.

It will cause us problems. For example, do you agree with me that it would be very easy in a church like ours to add things to be saved? Well, let’s for instance, we start seeing individuals coming to our church, hearing the message and being saved. But when we see them, we’re like, they don’t look like church people.

They’ve got addictions. They’ve got quarrels and fights and problems. And so, you know, what we need to do? We need to take the gospel and. We need to add to it just to make sure that we preserve our church. It would be so easy to do things like that. The point that Paul is making here, the point that I’m trying to drive home for us is that whenever we add to whenever we take away from the gospel message that creates problems and troubles in our lives, because ultimately this message came from God and it is an unchanging truth.

The message that we have received, the message that you have in your Bible, the message that is being proclaim this morning, it is unchanging. And even if we are, an angel from heaven should preach to you a different gospel, that’s contrary to what I preach to you. Paul says, Let that man be cursed. So one of the beauties about the Bible and its core message is that it does not change our.

World is ever changing. In fact, as I look at in the room here, I see some of you. You guys grew up before the Internet was even around. I don’t even know how you did it. I. Our world is changing so fast. And yet, in the midst of all of that change, we’re reminded that the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified the message of salvation.

It is an unchanging truth for a changing world. And what that means then, if this thing is unchanging, is we don’t need anything else to be added to it for our lives. Paul would write that. Peter would write that his divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own.

There it is again to his own glory and excellence. Beloved, one of the things that I hope that we would get out of our time here this morning as a church. One of the things that I hope that we would get out of this series is believing that we could have eternal life through Jesus the Son, but that we would also see that this message is unchanging and that the word of God provides us all that we need in our lives.

It unchanging and it will be a source of truth for us no matter what we encounter. And because God’s Word is unchanging, it can be totally relied upon. He has a church. We are called to boldly proclaim Christ crucified. And in doing so, we cannot distort the message. It is an eternally divinely appointed message, and it is a message that does not change, no matter how much this world changes.

But the reality is, if we are church that will be proclaiming this unchanging message to a dying world, we must see ultimately that the Gospel. It will separate you. It might seem like a strange way to end the passage that we’re studying here this morning. We’ll unpack more why Paul ends there later. This says for my now trying to approve man for the approval of man or God.

Or am I trying to Please, man if I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. It’s a great time for us to remember church, family That is, we try to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this community that ultimately it will separate us. It will separate us because people are trying to distort the message, trying to water it down, trying to add it up and I know that many of you work in places where there is intense pressure.

You have family members who would love to put intense pressure on you. The gospel will separate you. And in the days and the months and years ahead, we will see more clearly that those who proclaim and hold to this undying, unchanging truth that the gospel will separate them from the world, possibly like never before. The Gospel is about the glory of God, the glory of God, because He saves sinners like you and me, who would see that there is no other way to be saved other than trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ to save us from our sins.

Let us not distort this simple message. Ever. In this church and in our lives. Let us pray, Father. We come before you here this morning. And we stand in awe of a message that is unchanging. And it’s unchanging because it comes from, you who know and plan and ordain all things. And, Father, as we continue to study your word, I pray that if there is anyone here who doesn’t know you, that after seeing the simplicity and the beauty of the gospel, that you would be working in their hearts, and for us who know you as our Lord and our Savior.

Father, I pray that you would give us the conviction, that you would give us the courage, that you would give us the strength to stand on this unchanging word and a time and a day and a society in a world that’s putting increasing pressure on us to give us all that we need to glorify your. And it’s in the name of Jesus.

We pray these things, amen.

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