Galatians 1:11-24 "KISS the Gospel" (keep it simple stupid)

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1 Galatians 1:11-24 "KISS the Gospel" (keep it simple stupid) If you have your bibles with you today please turn to the book of Galatians. If you are not sure where it's located, please feel comfortable to look at the table of contents in the front of your bible to find the page number. Also, please turn in your notebooks to page 5 so we can briefly review the information about the book of Galatians that Dan presented last weekend. Our passage we are looking at today is Galatians 1:11-24: "11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel.[c] 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born,[d] and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to[e] me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;[f] 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy. 24 And they glorified God because of me." Let me just state this up front - The gospel is simple! Thomas Oden was a theologian at Drew University. He stayed up to date on all the newest theories and ideas in the theological world. He was a very good teacher and researcher. Yet he was dissatisfied with his life.

2 Why? He had not made any real new contributions to the study of the gospel he held so dear. Many years later as he slept, Oden had a dream. In this dream he was walking through a cemetery. As he gazed down at the tombstones around him he suddenly noticed his own staring back at him. He read the epitaph on the stone and it said "He made no new contributions to theology". You would think that this was a horrible nightmare for Oden, but he did not recount the dream as something that worried him; rather the dream was an extreme reassurance to him. He had reached the conclusion that the gospel of Christ did not need embellishments or additions but the plain truth of the gospel needs to be kept intact - just as it is. The apostle Paul understood this and it was the reason that he wrote this epistle, or letter, to the Galatians that we are studying today. If you will look at page 8 of your notes we will begin filling in those blanks. (Show them in your notebook) While we can not be completely certain, it does appear from what Paul writes, that after he left Galatia, he was being accused by some people in the churches there of receiving the gospel he preached from the apostles in Jerusalem, but then leaving out some of the details when he preached it in Galatia. These people who accused Paul were then preaching a form of the gospel themselves, but one that had many Jewish restrictions attached to it such as the need to be circumcised, rigid dietary rules, and strict observance of Sabbath laws. They were adding onto the gospel and making it very hard for the Gentile believers to continue in their faith. Paul's argument in these verses is that he did not get his gospel from the apostles. Instead the gospel he was taught was revealed to him by God and that took place through a divine encounter with Christ. Hold a finger or bookmark at Galatians and let's turn back in your bible a few books to the book of Acts. If you go backward in your bible you will pass the books of 2 & 1 Corinthians and the book of Romans, the next book you see will be Acts. If you see another book then you've gone too far. We are looking for Acts chapter 9. Acts 9:3-9 "Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground

3 he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? And he said, Who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do. The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank" I don't know about you, but if I saw a brilliant light, saw and heard Jesus speaking to me, and then was blinded for 3 days...i think I would begin to believe what I was hearing about Jesus being the son of God. Flip back to Galatians now Paul addresses the revelatory nature of both his apostleship and his gospel in verses 1 and 12 of Galatians chapter 1. He says V1 an apostle not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ V12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul is telling the Galatians that he was commissioned to be an apostle by Jesus himself and the good news (gospel) about Jesus was confirmed to him by Jesus as well - both in that one encounter on the road to Damacus in Acts 9. Therefore, what Paul is telling them is true and correct because it is not from any man but it is from God himself. Paul makes 3 distinct points to support his story. They all center around his conversion experience in Acts 9: 1) Paul opposed the early church (v13 & 14) Before Paul encountered Christ, his life mission was to destroy the church. He was going to Damacus to arrest, and if needed kill, the Christians who were living there. 2) God revealed Jesus to Paul at his conversion (v 15 & 16)

4 3) After his conversion, Paul did not consult with any man. He spent 3 years in Arabia before he ever talked with any of the apostles. (v 16-20) 4) Paul's gospel was confirmed and glorified God (v 21-24) SO WHAT?? 1) The best way people see the gospel is the testimony of our lives. Through the redemption of our past lives the gospel is preached in ways that words can not express. In Paul's case it was a change from a person who hated and persecuted Christians to a person who became a leader within the church and willing to die himself for what he believed. No human could affect that change within him. Only the gospel could do that. Think back to your past before you had encountered Christ. And ask yourself how any human effort or idea could have changed you. I also challenge you that if you have not shared who you were before Christ with others to do so, because stories of redeemed lives are the proclamation of the gospel. It is exactly what we have witnessed in the baptisms today. Baptism is a proclamation of changed lives and a witness to the power of the gospel because the bible says that the same power which raised Christ is the same power that raises us from our past into a new life - that's the gospel. The testimony of our lives can also help people see the gospel because it can keep them from repeating our mistakes. This is one reason was Paul was so upset with the Galatians. Paul says in verses 13 & 14 how zealous he was for Judaism. He was sold out. He not only drank the kool-aid but he licked his finger and got the left over powder out of the packet. He was the Jew to end all Jews and if anyone knew about the laws and traditions of Judaism it was Paul. And so, no one knew better how the restrictions Judaism placed on the Galatians would alter the gospel for them. What Paul is telling the Galatians is "Been there, done that - it don't work!!". They were trying to go back to the same life that Paul had just been delivered from. How does it make you feel when you know better about a subject than anyone else and yet you see others making errors that you could help them avoid because of your past history. Yeah - that's why Paul was mad; but he could be upset and was uniquely equipped to tell them of their error because of the testimony of his own life. His testimony gives witness to the power of the gospel to change a life.

5 2) The gospel has the power to truly change a person We were just talking about v 13 & 14 and Paul's past and look at Paul's language in these verses. "I persecuted" " I tried to destroy" "I was advancing" "I was zealous" - the subject of all Paul's verbs was himself. v 15 & 16 talk about his conversion experience and the language Paul uses there is "He set me apart" "He called me" "He revealed to me" - the subject of the verbs has changed to HE (God). From this point on in the passage, the rest of the "I" statements of Paul have nothing to do with Paul advancing himself, but they all are concerned with the advancement of the gospel. Paul's life did a 180 because of the gospel. Are you wanting to change your life?? Can you change??? Have you been trying to change it yourself?? How's that working for you??? Invitation 3) When the gospel is presented, it will be confirmed In the last 2 verses Paul shows how his gospel message was confirmed as truth by the fact the apostles and the churches in Judea glorified God because of his message, even though they didn't know who he was. Their praise of God was a confirmation that Paul's message was truth. The person is not important - the message is. The person is merely the instrument God speaks his message through, both verbally and through the testimony of their lives. What or who are you allowing to speak into your life spiritually??? What is their message and how do you confirm that it is truth??? Because the gospel is simple - so KISS it.

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