Monday, May 23, 2011

Only One Way ただ一方通行のみ

Galatians 1: 6-10
ガラテヤ人への手紙 第1章節610
A great missionary, Hudson Taylor once said, “Unless there is an element of risk in your exploits for God, there is no need for faith.”
偉大な伝道者、ハドソン テイラーはかつて言った、「神のためになす上で損失する要素がないとすれば、信仰を必要としない」
What is the cost of following the Gospel? In the early years of the Church, it cost a great deal! People were being killed for their Faith. Some were beaten. Others were driven out of the city.  Even today, the cost of following the Biblical Gospel cost us something.  In the contemporary society we live in, we are faced day in and day out with the cry for tolerance.  That is one of the words that drive me crazy!

It is not our mission in life to become a sore spot in people’s lives. We are not here to drive the modern society mad. But from every corner, every direction, the cry for tolerance is flown into our faces.  From Mags, to DVDs to books, film, music, intranet, education—it all screams for the world to be united in tolerance.  We are to be open-minded to everything.  The only thing they find intolerant in is intolerance.  

Thinking has so many views, so many levels and as Christians, we are going to face the fact that what we believe about the Gospel is against what the World System teaches. While they want us to be tolerant of their open views on any subject, we will be forced to either shut up or give away our belief systems. “They” will not have us be so narrow as to say that there is only one way to God.

Paul saw this in the churches he sent this letter to. There were a great deal of polluted teaching filtering down into the minds and hearts of these new believers and it made Paul angry. The pollutants from the society would affect the church. In history, one can see that no society that allowed everything survived. Society would not last when they let go of their moral fiber.  Here in this region of Asia Minor, the culture of the land was affecting the culture of the Church.  The purity of the Good News was being added to. The result was no Good News at all.
Remember how fast Paul got into the issue at hand. He did not soften his voice. 

In verse 6, we find our first point for today: #1 the Turncoats.
If you looked at other letters by Paul, even Corinthians, that church was in bad shape.  Immorality and other issues were at play.  Still, Paul commends them, but not here.  He states “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the One who called you by the Grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.”  Here Paul addresses them with force and calls some of them turncoats.  With the church in Philippi, he was concerned while he was in jail that some preached out of envy. But he was glad that the Word was getting out. He said: “I rejoice.”  It wasn’t his style but people were hearing the Gospel. Not his style, but the essence of the Gospel here was being challenged!  

He uses a strong word here.  ASTONISHED or freaked out that these fellows were dealing with the Message this way. People were beginning to desert the Gospel. They took the coat of the simple Gospel and turned it inside out. Now the outward expression of the followers of Christ looked like the enemies of Christ.  

And it spread quickly. Paul said, in effect: I was just with you! And POW, you deserted the Gospel.  In the past, you had turned toward the Gospel—from darkness to the Light. But now, you allowed people to come in to turn your minds and hearts away from the One who loved you.  You changed your allegiance.  “I’m amazed—blown away!” They were the ones who were turning away from the Truth.  Turncoats. You are following a different gospel.  Groups all over—worshipping—praying—fellowshipping and then one after the other, gone AWOL (absent without leave).  With no thought of returning! This word here is used to mean to turn 180º turn as in the military.  If a Southern solider in the US’s civil war left the house in a gray uniform and returned at lunch in a blue uniform, THAT is what he is talking about!  Like the PM, Kan-San becoming a communist or Obama becoming a Republican.  

This radical change did not happen in minor issues but in vital issues of Faith.  You changed colors. Once on the red team, now you are on the blue team. You deserted your post. Leaving a person- God and deserting a personal relationship!  They have given up on the One who ‘verse 4ed’ them.  Read verse 4.

You were a beggar in the street with nothing/dead. Then Christ came and put on you the Robe of Righteousness.  You did nothing for it.  Made you righteous before God—forgiven in His sight. Paul says, “I heard that you have taken off His robes and put back on the rags you once wore!” The tradition of men, instead of the Grace of God! And with it, you lost your testimony in Asian Minor

Men tried to hold onto God but they let go of the Gospel.  Can’t do that! Some would say, “I know God but I don’t believe the Gospel!”  Turn to John 5:37-40 And the Father who sent Me has Himself testified concerning Me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form, nor does His word dwell in you, for you do not believe the One He sent.

Even when the name of the group has the word Jesus in it, or God or church or Christian…does not mean it is true. 

I belonged to a strong Protestant group growing up—strong historical roots. First church in the Americas.  But no one leader—elders, pastor believed in Jesus! Just a social club! Unity…Christian Science…JW…Does not belong in the same camp as Believers.  Why? It is another gospel that cannot save.  Nice people but lost.

Verse 7: They pervert the Gospel. And what is the Gospel? 
1. God is gracious to the undeserving sinner. 
2. None of us is able to better self or to make us better before the Holy God.  
3. Therefore, we have a problem.  Unless the one who comes is perfect, He needs to be a Man, and needs to be God=the full plan of all eternity.   

When we come to the end of ourselves, then God can touch us and make us whole.  That is what Paul preached and that is what these turncoats rejected. It was all of that PLUS Jewish rules and Mosaic laws and circumcised.  They taught that you couldn’t just know Christ in His fullness unless you embrace the extra gospel points.  They undercut the simple truth…the Apostolic Doctrines—the battle cry of the Reformation—a Biblical Christ.  FAITH ALONE.  The Only Way!

The ground is level at the Cross.  The turncoats were intolerant of the Gospel.

 #2 Trouble makers.  Verse 7 (5:10, Acts 15:24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.; Acts 20:30, 2 Cor 11:13) “throwing you” same word for the action of a tumble dryer.  Agitated. Hurting you. (Distort-change, alter) These trouble makers deserted FROM the Gospel because there was confusion ABOUT the Gospel as a result of a perversion OF the Gospel.  ... to leave the Gospel.  This is why we try to teach the Gospel according to the Bible/ Biblical teaching.

We are not to entertain you. Not to educate you but that we would become established in the Truth. 

 1 Tim 4:11-16 We are to be an example.  These Trouble Makers were there to turn things upside down and inside out with no care of the truth.  Not the truth at all.  What they taught, beware- See verse 9b. be eternally condemned

Are they coming from the outside? NO! From within the church!  Those who do not know the Scripture and have little grounding in the Word-beware. Easy pickings.   
Titus 1:10-11. 10 For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.   

They MUST be silenced as they destroyed houses. 
 #3 Truth TellersV 8 even if we (ME) taught a different gospel-do not believe it! Condemned!  Twice stated that! Examine the teaching. Be like those in Acts 17. Test the Word. You should not even allow them a place to speak or sit! Why invite then into our homes via books etc? Do not follow them—nor give ear to the false teachers.  2 John 7,  Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 11 Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. 

There is only One Way and Jesus alone is THAT way. As Taylor said: “Unless there is an element of risk in your exploits for God, there is no need for faith.” Be bold with the Truth and see people get free!

Much thanks go to Pastor Alistair Begg for his clear teaching on this subject. Much of today's message was taken from one of his sermons on this same topic.