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The Message!

Galatians 1:8-9 “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.”

When we bought our computer desk, it came in a box. So, because it was unassembled, I needed to put it together. When I took out the manual I didn’t check to see who wrote it. When you buy something that needs to be assembled, do you check out who wrote the manual? Obviously, NO! Your only concern as well as mine is that the information is correct. Right?

That is precisely what Paul is saying in these verses. The message is what is important, not the messenger. Now, we must remember that there are definite guidelines on who can teach. For instance, it is not acceptable for a woman to teach. Look at 1 Timothy 2:11-12: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

These verses are as much for today as they were when Paul penned them. And another guideline is in: 1 Timothy also, concerning elders, which is a leadership position just like teaching a group is a leadership position.

1 Timothy 3:6  Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

So, besides these guidelines that are very plainly laid out in Scripture we must agree with what Paul is saying in these verses. That the message is the most important thing in preaching. That is why Paul told Timothy in his first letter to him:

1 Timothy 4:13  Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

And

1 Timothy 4:16  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

The word “doctrine” means teaching or instruction. Now where do we get doctrine from? We get it from God’s word.

2 Timothy 3:16  All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

We must base all that we know on scripture. And we “must” take the time to interpret scripture properly. That is why Paul tells Timothy to “take heed...unto the doctrine...”. Notice Paul uses the definite article “the” meaning the true doctrine or teaching concerning God.

Not only does Paul say once that the truth of the message is the most important thing and whomever teaches against or contrary to it should be damned. But, he repeats himself to show the importance of it. That is one of the first things that should be evident, is that these two verses repeat themselves. A good rule to study by is to never make a doctrine on just one verse. If it is important enough then God will have it be repeated throughout His word, either in like words or like inferences.

Here are some other times things are repeated in scripture:

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
And also {John 1:51; 3:5,11; 5:19,24,25; 6:26,32,47,53; 8:34,51,58; 10:1,7; 12:24; 13:16,20,21,38; 14:12; 16:20,23; 21:18}

The word “verily” is the same word in the Greek as “amen”. At the beginning of a statement like this it means “truth”. And here Jesus is saying “truth, truth", in other words it is something that we are to heed and listen to.

Another time something is repeated is the word holy in reference to God. None of God’s other attributes are repeated like this but God’s holiness is.

Isaiah 6:2-4 “Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

And

Revelation 4:8  And the four beasts had each of them six wings about [him]; and [they were] full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

So, we see that repetition is used for emphasis. In Revelation, the Seraphim are before God crying out about His holiness. They don’t just say it once but three times. (Not only is it for emphasis but could it also be in reference to the Trinity?)

Paul was emphasizeing the importance of truth here in our verses from Galatians. When we are looking for a church. We are not to look to personalities. We are not to look to what church is the closest or least out of the way. We are not to look to which church has the most programs. We are not to look for which church has the best choir or people of our age or gender or our race. We are to worship in a church that proclaims God’s truth.

John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

But, most people today fit into Paul’s warning to Timothy in his second letter to him.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Before we get into what gospel is to be preached. Let me ask you a question. Why such harsh words from Paul? Is doctrine and right thinking really that important? The modern so called Christian will tell you no. What matters these days is what one experiences, not what Scripture tells you. An example of this is a woman pastor that my wife has recently met on-line. My wife flat out told her that Scripture doesn’t support women being pastors. She told my wife, “It doesn’t matter. Because, when He visits you and tells you what you are to do, you do it.” This woman flat out disregards what Scripture has to say and goes just on experience, even it if contradicts what God’s Word says.

Back to my question: YES!!! Doctrine and right thinking is VERY important.

So, we have Paul emphasizing the importance of the true Gospel. Now we have to ask ourselves the question, “What is the true Gospel?”

In my On-line bible here is a quote from the topic on the Gospel:

“The term is often used to express collectively the gospel doctrines; and ’preaching the gospel’ is often used to include not only the proclaiming of the good tidings, but the teaching men how to avail themselves of the offer of salvation, the declaring of all the truths, precepts, promises, and threatenings of Christianity.”

In Acts 20:24 it is called “the gospel of the grace of God”. In Matt. 4:23 it is called “the gospel of the kingdom”. In Romans 1:16 it is called “the gospel of Christ”. In Ephesians 6:15 it is called “the gospel of peace”. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 and 1 Timothy 1:11 it is called “the glorious gospel”. In Revelation 14:6 it is termed “the everlasting gospel”. And in Ephesians 1:13 it is called “the gospel of salvation”.

Here we have different terms that are all pointing to the same thing or the same person is a better term. That person is our Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians Paul says this about Jesus:

1 Corinthians 1:23  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

and in:

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

That is the gospel in a nutshell. But, what does it mean fully? I have heard it used lately to justify not digging in deeper to know the truths of the gospel. It is a lame justification. Because when you really look at these verses you have to ask yourself some questions. Paul says that we preach Christ. OK, who is Christ? Jesus Christ is God. John 1:1 says:

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

And then in verse 14, Paul clarifies that the Word of God is 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.

Then, since Jesus is God, we must acknowledge His attributes. Like His sovereignty, immutability (unchangeableness), omniscience, etc. All of the attributes that are God’s we must recognize that they are Jesus’s also. Jesus being fully God and fully man is not a debatable issue. It says in I John 4:2-3: “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

Then Paul goes on to say that He preaches Christ crucifed. So, then, why was Christ crucified and who was He crucifed for?

Jesus was crucified for the sins of the elect.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus died in our place to attone for our sins. We deserve what He got. Our sins placed Jesus on the cross where we should be.

Isaiah 53:5  But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Romans 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Corinthians 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.

1 John 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.

We see from the verses above that Jesus was crucified to attone for sins. But, now the question is, whose sins?

Isaiah 53:10-12 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (emphasis added)

In verse 12 it says “he bare the sin of many”. It means that there were a peculiar, specific people that he died for. In John Jesus says: I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (10:11)

He doesn’t say that He lays His life down for the goats. Also, later in this chapter, Jesus says this to the Jews:

John 10:26  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

Meaning that it is impossible to believe the truth unless you are one of His sheep. Are we elitist’s or above others? Absolutely NOT!! But, we are a peculiar people, set apart by the Grace of God.

Paul says that this is the gospel that we are to preach. And if anyone brings in another gospel, Paul very plainly says to let him be accursed. Accursed means: “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”

And then listen to this verse in Jude concerning false teachers: For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (1:4)

Now I ask you. Is the true Gospel being preached in churches today? In my town it is not. The gospel that is preached in 99.9% of the churches in my town put man on the throne and expect for God to jump through their hoops at their decisions. That is a false gospel and is leading people away from the God of the bible unto a god of their own making and fashion. Let us get back to the true teaching of what the Bible says concerning man and God.

Tom Adams 2-2000