Gal 1:3-9                                Teach Me, O Lord                                       11/09/2014  

 

 

 

 

#1.      Christ Crucified (I Cor 1:18, 2:2, Gal 1:4-5, Rom 9:6-7, Eph 1:5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.      Can We Add to the Words of This Book? (Rev 22:18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.      How Can We Discern Truth From Falsehood? (Jer 17:5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Epistle to the Galatians, chapter 1:1 (2X). You find Galatians after First and Second Corinthians. The title of our sermon today is: "Teach Me, O Lord". We pray for God to teach us His way to salvation. What is God's way? There is still much uncertainty what God's way of salvation is. We know that God's way is By Grace Alone, but even in our church there is still a great lack of discernment about what is the right way and what are the many wrong ways that lead to Hell. We need to know that, because we live in a time when most people believe that there are many different roads that lead to heaven. Let us read about that here in Gal 1:1,

Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

Galatians 1:2  And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:

Galatians 1:3  Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

Galatians 1:4  Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Galatians 1:5  To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Galatians 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.

Galatians 1:8  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.

Galatians 1:9  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.

Wow! This sounds like a very urgent message. It is a warning to carve out the boundaries of the Gospel that leads to salvation. What are those boundaries? Let us start with verse 3, which says:

This is a peace given by God the Father to all those whom He calls His children. Now we can see why the First Person of the Triune Godhead is called the Father. It is because He is the Father of all those whom He calls His children, whom He has chosen from before the foundation of the world, whereas the Devil is called the father of all the rest of mankind. The Father gives us peace from God, which means that He gives us peace with God. Let me quote here from Isa 57:19, where God says:

Isaiah 57:19  I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.

God is the One who creates the message of peace with God from the lips of the evangelist, and those whose ears God has opened hear this message and they will believe unto salvation. On the other hand, there are those who listen to false prophets who speak to them in the way of Jer 8:11, 

Jeremiah 8:11    For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying:  Peace,

peace; when there is no peace.

God speaks about the same people who listen to false prophets in I Thess 5:3, where God says:

1 Thessalonians 5:3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and "they shall not escape" (2X).

Again this verse stresses the very urgent message to carve out the boundaries of the Gospel: What is the true Gospel? What is the Gospel that creates peace with God? The true Gospel centers:

#1.      On Christ Crucified! (I Cor 1:18, 2:2, Gal 1:4-5, Rom 9:6-7, Eph 1:5). Hold one finger in Gal and please turn about 35 pages to your left, to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 1:18 (2X). Christ was crucified for those whom the Father chose to save. Christ was not crucified for those whom the Father did not choose to save. Those two groups of people are in view in I Cor 1:18,

1 Corinthians 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.

What happened 2000 years ago there on the hill called Golgotha is absolutely essential for our understanding of the Gospel. One page to your right, God says through the pen of the Apostle Paul in

1 Cor 2:2  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

This is what every preacher of the Gospel must focus on: The Divine mission of Christ, His works, His person, His Atonement must all be in the forefront of our minds. And once we understand His Atonement, we can see how all the attributes of God, like His love, and His righteousness, they all zero in on the cross of Christ. And that is also what we read in Galatians, chapter 1. Let us turn again to Gal 1:4 (2X), which also speaks about Christ's Atonement. We read in Gal 1:4,

Galatians 1:4  Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Galatians 1:5  To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

"He gave Himself" implies that this was a sacrifice. He gave Himself as the sacrifice. He gave Himself as the Lamb of God to atone for the sins of His people. And who are His people? His people are not exclusively the descendants of Abraham, like so many people want to believe. God says in Rom 9:6-7, "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children". God's children are those whom the Father has chosen by grace from before the foundation of the world, according to Eph 1:5. What brings glory to God forever and ever? Only the Gospel where all the credit for our salvation goes to God will bring glory to Him. A gospel where God gets 99.99% of the credit and man get 0.01% of the credit is really a works gospel. It is an insult to God, and it cannot bring about the salvation of anyone. Only a Gospel where man starts out as a totally impotent being, totally dead in trespasses and sins, only then can God receive all the credit for man's salvation. But a gospel where man can and must give God a helping hand, that really is a works gospel, or it is also called here in Gal 1 "another gospel".

Galatians 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.

The Apostle says, "I marvel, I am amazed that you are so soon drifting away from the grace of Christ into another gospel". What was that other gospel that they were drifting into? It was the belief that Christ has done 99.99% of the work, but they had to do 0.01% of the work. And that work was what they had to do according to Law of God: They had to be circumcised. Bringing in the Law as a requirement for salvation is definitely another gospel, because it means that we must DO something for our salvation. Today people would not say that we have to be circumcised. That would be too obvious, because God already addressed it here in Galatians. But they would say: "We have to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior", or "We have to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ", or "We have to be baptized in water", or "We have to speak in tongues", or "We must depart out of the church", and so on. All these are things that we must DO, and therefore they are by definition a works gospel. All these things like accept Christ, or believe on Christ, or be baptized, or speak in tongues, or depart out, are written in the Bible. But if we apply these rules without understanding, if we apply these rules without discernment, if we apply these rules like they are laws that we must obey, then we are creating a works gospel. That is why we pray: "Teach Me, O Lord". That is why we pray for discernment. What is discernment? Discernment is the ability to distinguish good from evil. It is the ability to detect what is another gospel. It is the ability to distinguish faithfulness to the Word of God from the doctrines of man. You may think that it is easy to see what is good and what is evil. But it is not easy, because the churches of Galatia fell into that trap as a warning to us. Discernment is a gift from God; therefore we pray that God may give us this wisdom. God has warned us in Gal 1:8,

Galatians 1:8  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.

Galatians 1:9  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.

This is very threatening language. It means that any Bible teacher or preacher must be 100% sure that he has the true Gospel, or else he would be bringing a lie. In fact, we find in James, chapter 3, that Bible teachers or preachers who are not bringing the truth will receive the greater condemnation. It means that for them will be reserved a hotter place in Hell. Let me give a personal example:

Please turn about 100 pages to your left, to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10:37 (2X). Many preachers read in the Bible examples of sermons, and they think that these are templates of a Gospel presentation. For example, when Peter preached on Pentecost and about 3000 souls were saved, or when Stephen preached to the Sanhedrin, or when Peter preached to the household of Cornelius and they all became saved, we recognize that these were very historical sermons. It does not mean that these historical sermons are templates for the bringing of the Gospel in evangelism. These sermons were designed to teach us doctrines, but they were not templates. For example we read in Acts 10:37

Acts 10:37  That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

Acts 10:38  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Acts 10:39  And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

Acts 10:40  Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

Acts 10:41  Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

Acts 10:42  And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

Acts 10:43  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Then we read that apparently this preaching was so effective that the entire audience present became saved. But this was not due to the words that Peter spoke, because that would assign glory to the man Peter. God used this point in history to save this group of Gentiles for His own purposes. Before I was saved I believed all these things that Peter mentioned. I believed the story of the baptism of Jesus. I believed that Jesus did many miracles and He healed many of their diseases. I believed that He was crucified, that He was raised up the third day, and that He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believed all that, but I was not saved. All these facts were in my head. Of course, after spending 7 years in Jesuit schools I was pumped full with all those facts. What was missing? Two things were missing. #1. I was not Born Again. God the Holy Spirit had not given me a new heart. #2. I believed what the church taught me, but I had no Bible. I did not really hear the words of Scripture. I heard stories about the Bible, but I did not come under the hearing of the Word of God.

Now, why am I telling you all this? Let us apply this to our own congregation. Is it possible that we come to church every Sunday, and that we pump in our head all the facts we are hearing, and that we believe all that was spoken, but actually we have not been saved? Is that possible? Yes! How could that be? What is missing? Two things are missing: #1. Have you been Born Again? Has God the Holy Spirit given you a new heart? #2. Have you really heard the Word of God, or have you only believed what your church has taught you? Before I was saved I had no Bible. People who have a Bible but don't read it are like those who have no Bible. They have not heard the Word of God. And if we have a Bible and we do read it, how do we read the Bible? Do we read it as a book of history, or do we read it as a Book from God who is saving us from Hell? How do we distinguish between good and evil gospels? How can we know the boundaries of the true Gospel? According to the Bible, what are the boundaries of the Gospel of salvation? Please turn to the last chapter in your Bibles, to Revelation, chapter 22:18 (2X). Let me sum up some of the basics of the Gospel here. First of all:

#2.      Can We Add to the Words of This Book? (Rev 22:18)

All your children know the answer to that question. Of course, we may not add to the words of the Bible. But did you know that there are denominations that call themselves "non-denominational"? They are stealing sheep from other churches by pretending that they are non-denominational, so they are neutral. They pretend that they do not hurt anyone. But they are the Charismatic Movement in disguise. Don't ever get trapped in these non-denominational Bible studies. I am speaking from personal experience. What is wrong with miraculous healings in the Charismatic Movement? The Roman church has been engaged in miracles of healing for many centuries, and no one has faulted them for this. Ah, but the Charismatic Movement is more than that. People of the Charismatic Movement believe that God is still bringing Divine revelations today in dreams and visions, and in tongues, and in angel visitations, and all kinds of supernatural events. But God has revealed to us that about 1900 years ago God finished His program of Divine revelations when He dictated to the Apostle John the last page of the Bible. God says in Rev 22:18,

Rev 22:18  For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

You do not hear many sermons preached on this verse. And yet, the warning is so urgent. It is a matter of life with Christ forever, or Hell forever. What is this verse really saying? Which Book is God referring to in this verse? I will prove in a few minutes that God wrote only one Book, and that Book is the Bible. That is the Book referred to here in Rev 22:18. "The prophecy" simply means "the words from God". God says here that no one may add to the words already spoken and written in the Bible. If anyone claims he has additional words from God, he has added to the words of the Bible, and God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this Book. What are those plagues? God says in Rev 14 that "the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever". When God said that no one may claim that he has received additional messages from God, it also means that God will not give more messages in addition to the Bible. How else could we know if the visions of Joan of Arc were real messages from God or not? How else could we know if the visions of Ellen G. White were real messages from God or not? She was one of the founders of the Seventh Day Adventist church. And if they indeed were real messages from God then all the denominations who worship Christ on Sunday are under the curse of God. Where is truth if God would still be giving Divine revelations today? How could we know? We would not be able to discern truth from falsehood.

Therefore, all those who follow their leaders in the Charismatic Movement, believing that God is still bringing Divine revelations in dreams, and in visions, and in tongues, are subject to the wrath of God. I did not say that. God said it in Rev 22:18. Likewise, let us now turn to Rev 22:19.

Revelation 22:19  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

This too is a verse with strong warnings and severe penalties for violating this rule. The penalty is that God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life. That is a severe penalty, because Rev 20:15 (2X) says: "And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire". You see, there are only two destinations in the life hereafter: one is to be with Christ forever in the NH&NE and the other is to be cast into the Lake of Fire. God says hereby that the Bible, the Word of God, is one cohesive whole, and it should not be tampered with by adding to it or by taking away from it. How are people taking away from the Bible? Do they dare to rip out pages from the Bible? No!

 There have arisen many wise men in our time who claim that they have found substantial evidence that this earth is billions of years old, and they claim that humans have evolved from apes. Poor apes. They had such a carefree life among their bananas, and now suddenly they have become subject to the wrath of God for spawning this sinful human race. Well, there are more consequences for those who have generated this theory of evolution. In effect, they are saying that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are not true, and they should not be taken seriously. They have essentially taken away the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Not only those scientists with their fanciful theories have violated Rev 22:19, but all those who follow their ideas are also subject to the wrath of God.

But there is more. There are those who deny the sovereignty of God in salvation. They believe in the free will and the sovereignty of man rather than the sovereignty of God. They are denying what God says in Rom 9, and in John 6, and in Eph 1, and in many other chapters of the Bible. In effect they have taken these verses out of the Bible by ignoring them. They too are subject to the wrath of God by violating Rev 22:19.

Why would God invoke such curses following the violation of Rev 22:18-19? Why would God be so inflexible? The answer is simple. God has never been tolerant of idolatry. Changing the Bible by adding to it or by deleting from it will create another gospel. And:

Please turn a few pages to your left, to Rev 19:13 (2X). This chapter shows a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ descending out of Heaven with the armies of Heaven following Him, "in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ". Then we read a description of the Lord Jesus Christ in verse 13.

Revelation 19:13  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

His name is called, "The Word of God". This is the all-inclusive Name of Christ. But the Bible is also called "The Word of God", from cover to cover. Whenever the Bible says that we must believe in His Name, it means that we must believe all that is in the Word of God, the Bible, from cover to cover. Why? It is because God defines here what exactly circumscribes the God whom we worship. How is our God defined for us? He is defined by the Word of God, the Bible, from cover to cover. Whenever we add to the complete Word of God, or we take away from the complete Word of God, we have a different Bible, and by definition we have a different god. For example, the Jews worship a different god than we do, because their Bible only contains the OT. The Roman Catholics worship another god than we do, because their god consists of the Bible plus the many dictates from popes and saints, which have acquired the same status of infallibility as the Bible, and are used next to the Bible. Now, armed with this infallible measuring stick of Rev 22:18-19 we must warn our children for the pitfalls of becoming unequally yoked with mates from other denominations.

What the Bible says in Rev 19:13 finds a sounding board throughout other parts of the Bible. For example, you all remember the words of John 1:1, which says:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Why does God use here "the Word" for the Name of Christ? It is because His Name is the Word of God, like we have seen in Rev 19:13. In John 1:1 the Word became the Name of a Person. This Person, the Word, is revealed in John 1:14 to be the Lord Jesus Christ:

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

From Revelation, please turn about 70 pages to your left to the Epistle to the Hebrews 4:12 (2X). Who are the Hebrews? Is this letter written only to the descendants of Abraham? No! This letter is also written to us. We are those Hebrews God is addressing here, because we read in Phil 3:3, "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh". Here in Heb 4:12 we find another personification of The Word:

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:13  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

The Bible, the Word of God, is sharper than any twoedged sword. There is no sword sharper than the Bible. With it the Lord will judge the nations on the Last Day. That is why the spiritual meaning of the sword, in the Bible, is the Word of God. But without the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit, the Bible is an inanimate object. Here in Heb 4:12 God speaks of this Word of God as a person, because He says, "He is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart". We have looked at three Scripture references where the Word of God is identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us be clear on this: The Bible is not our God. The Bible completely describes who our God is. Therefore any set of Divine revelations that is greater than the Bible only, or that is smaller than the Bible only, describes another god than the God of the Bible. What an incredible transgression for people to come up with another g.

#3.      How Can We Discern Truth From Falsehood? (Jer 17:5)

Should we read many books from well-learned theologians? And after listening to all these wise men, do we throw up our hands and say, "I don't know whom to believe any more"? Does that not reflect that we have been listening to men more than to God? Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Jeremiah, chapter 17:5 (2X). This is known as the middle verse of the Bible. Before the time of computers some obsessive compulsive individual counted all the verses in the Bible, and then determined what would be the middle verse in the Bible. This is the middle verse. It is a strong admonition from the Lord. God says: Do not trust the words of man. We read in Jer 17:5,

Jeremiah 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.

Remember this middle verse of the Bible. If you follow certain theologians, then you risk of coming under the curse of God. Reading books by theologians can be a snare. If you read books written by men in preference to the reading of the Scriptures then you definitely have fallen into a snare. Why would you prefer to read the works of uninspired men to the words of the living God? Why would you prefer to be tossed to and fro by the works of men who all disagree with one another? Why would you want to remain so ignorant of the Word of God that you never grasp the beauty and the glory of the Covenant of God? Well, I cannot answer that question for you. All I can say is: Read the Bible! Read the Bible! Read the Bible! Why would I stress that so much? There are many in this congregation who do not read and study their Bible as much as I like to see.

Can we discern truth from falsehood? Not by our own effort. God must give that discernment to us. If we cannot discern truth from falsehood, it could be that we need more teaching, or it could be that we are not willing to admit that there is much false teaching going on today. There is indeed much false teaching going on today. For example, I do not recommend any religious program there is on TV today. It is better to watch a secular TV program than watch a religious TV program.

Lastly, many in the Charismatic Movement will say that Rev 22:18-19 refer only to the "Book of Revelation". They say the Bible consists of 66 books. We may not add or take away from the Book of Revelation. Therefore, speaking in tongues does not violate Rev 22:18-19. Is that really so?

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Hosea, chapter 1:6 (2X). Hosea comes after Daniel.

The sequence is Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Hosea. God commanded the Prophet Hosea to marry a harlot by the name of Gomer, because God wanted to paint a picture of Israel as the wife of God. The first child of Hosea and Gomer was a son. God commanded to name him Jezreel. Then:

Hosea 1:6  And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.

Hosea 1:7  But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.

Hosea 1:8 Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.

Hos 1:9  Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.

Is this then going to be the end of Israel? No! Here comes the great promise of the NT age:

Hosea 1:10  Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place (2X) where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

Did you notice, God said, "in the place where it was said to them"? Where was that place? The prophet Hosea preached in Samaria, the capital of the Northern kingdom of Israel. The prophecy of verse 10 reaches all the way into the NT time. Paraphrased, God said that there in the place where it was said to Israel "no more mercy" and "not my people", there in the same place it shall be said to them, "Ye are the sons of the living God". Where in the NT do we find this prophecy fulfilled? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 9:24 (2X). You find Romans right after Acts of the Apostles. In Rom 9:23 God speaks about "the vessels of mercy which God has afore prepared unto glory". Who are those vessels of mercy? God answers this question in verse 24,

Romans 9:24  Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Romans 9:25 As he saith also in Osee (which is the Greek spelling for Hosea), I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

Romans 9:26  And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

Notice, God emphasizes that the fulfillment of Hosea's prophecy is proclaimed in the same place where Hosea preached. From where did the Apostle Paul write this Epistle to the Romans? There is no doubt that Paul wrote this letter from Corinth. During the third missionary journey Paul waited in Corinth for 3 months (Acts 20:3) for the delegates from the Gentile churches who bore the offerings for the relief of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. Many of the names listed in Rom 16 correspond to the names we find in First and Second Corinthians. But God said it would be the same place! Then where is that place? This place can only be the Bible. God called the prophecy of Hosea and the Epistle to the Romans the same place: The Bible. There is therefore no doubt that the Bible is One Book, and it is not 66 books as so many theologians claim it to be.              Amen