No Going Back!
Wow that what they're doing down in Paraguay Well it's Christmas time right how many of you have started your Christmas shopping you are lying.
Somewhere you may be on top of the you know I'm going to be honest with you one other thing I can do several different things I can see in front of a group of people in talk but you asked me to go Christmas shopping for people and I get nervous about that because I'm not good at buying gifts and so one thing that I really appreciate in this teenage is something called Online shopping all of this is the best I love that because what I can do is I can tell my my wife my kids OK what do you want and I we do a lot of shopping on Amazon I'm sure some of you do that as well and you can put the item that you want on the wish list and so you know exactly when to get the person you know before Amazon Christmas shopping for me was horrible I was very very nervous about that because you don't want to get the wrong gift right you don't want to get the wrong gift for the wrong for the for the person they want something different so that's why you always make sure that you keep your receipts but you know if you give someone a wrong good for Christmas it's not going to be the end of the world right they're going to live in they're going to survive and they're not going to remember your gift anyway. You know there are other decisions in life that are much more important than picking the right Christmas gift for a friend or a family member specifically stuff like who you're going to marry that's a little bit more important right than which Christmas gifts you're going to buy or what career you're going to go into that's a little bit more important or even something like Do you buy the doing it with or without sprinkles that's a very important decision that you need to make while it's one of the decisions I make on a on a regular basis but the most important decision that every human being needs to make in their life is what message are they going to follow what truth are they going to build their lives on.
Oprah Winfrey hasn't been on T.V. for a while at least I don't think she's on T.V. anymore. But a while ago she had this big panel of all these people and they all came together and Oprah declared that she believes that no matter what you believe it's fine because ultimately all paths lead to God or to heaven or to paradise or whatever you you call it so that's what Oprah believes and Oprah's it she's a smart person right she's a very accomplished individual so you should we take Oprah's advice and should we should we just trust what Oprah says is the truth that it doesn't matter what you believe all paths are eventually going to lead to heaven.
Jesus doesn't agree with over Actually let me read for you a couple things that Jesus said Jesus said in John fourteen six he said I am the way and the truth and the Life no one comes to the Father except through me.
So we have two different messages out there we have Oprah Winfrey's which is all roads lead to heaven and Jesus so who are you going to trust here hopefully you're going to trust Christ also acts four twelve it says in there is salvation and no one else for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. You know last week I began our current series in the book of Galatians So if you turn in your bible struggle ations chapter one right now.
And what we did last week we just look at the very first few verses.
And talked about what Galatians is about and so for those of you here were here last week you probably remember this the lation is about two primary things it's about the truth and it's about freedom. The lation is about the One True Gospel that Paul shared with those Ingle Aisha and the rest of the Bible rest of the of the book to of glaciers is about some people who came in and they tried to distort this message that Paul gave to them and so it's about truth and ultimately it's about freedom because if you believe the truth Jesus said The Truth Will Set You Free. And if you are believing in something that is not the truth ultimately that's going to lead to bondage in some way so let's go ahead and read part of the introduction to glaciers again let's start in verse three this reduced couple verses.
One beginning in verse three it says Grace to you in peace from God our Father and 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 and so last week all we get is we looked at these first couple verses and we realized that Paul gives us three things and here gives us a distinction of ages that we are now in an age and that there is going to be an age after this there is a description of this age would which he calls it's the present evil age and then we also get the good news about us being delivered from the power of this age but so Paul is talking to the people in glaciers and in Glacier and there is a problem after Paul came in and established these churches other people came in and they were inserting something else into the gospel they added works into the Gospel that Paul had message to talk to them and so in this passage that we're going to look at today what Paul is doing is he is talking about the authenticity of his message and where he got his message from and in the next passage what we'll look at next week Paul talks about the authenticity of his ministry as an apostle that he goes to the other apostles the original apostles and they talk and they confer about what Paul is preaching but Paul shares with us this situation so let's keep reading and we'll pick up in verse six
Paul says this to those Ingle Aisha he says. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserving Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel not that there is another one but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
Some of you probably aware of this you know you look at the word gospel and you say you know what exactly is that the Greek word for gospel is the word on it simply means good news so whenever you are in the New Testament in your read the word gospel the Gospel of Jesus Christ the gospel of God The gospel the grace of God It's talking about the good news kind of a very generic term it's the gospel which is the good news and what Paul is specifically talking about is this the good news of Jesus Christ he went in told them the good news about Jesus Christ about his death for their sins and about his resurrection so that they can have the hope of eternal life and so back when Paul wrote this people were taking that good news and they were distorting it just like he says at the end of that verse in verse seven they are troubling you and they want to distort the Gospel or the good news of Christ and so the issue back then revolved around the law of Moses and what to do with it and later in Galatians Paul reveals that the Law was given to lead people to Christ not to give people a way to be saved I think that's a very important point and so Paul says that there's only one gospel there is not two there's not five there's not fifty there's not many ways to be saved there's only one gospel and then Paul says something that I think is fascinating and we're going to spend the rest of this morning talking about how prophetic what Paul said was and I've actually kind of been looking forward to the sermon.
I've never preached to Galatians before and I did a class Sunday school class or the church about two or three years ago on different world religions and it never dawned. On me that what Paul said here in the late chapter one was somewhat prophetic because what Paul says in this next verse that we're going to look at has happened is come to pass so let's look at verse eight glacier's one verse eight. Paul says.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preach to you let him be a cursed Now this word for a cursed some of your translations might say something different the Greek word is anathema and anathema means that you devote something to God so it can be destroyed so Paul is saying if anyone tells you something that contradicts what I told you let him be presented to God so that God can destroy him and he has no hope of redemption verse nine as we have said before so I now say again if anyone is preaching to a gospel contrary to the one you received let him be a cursed from I now seeking the approval of man or of God or am I trying to please man if I were still trying to please man I would not be a servant of Christ so what is the deal what is going on back there that Paul is he's really passionate about this and he's going back to these people in Galatians saying Guys we have to discuss this I have to let you know what's going on back in that day the issue was about circumcision. God gave the covenant of circumcision to Abraham and his descendants and what the Israelites did is over the years they are they misunderstood the purpose of circumcision and all the ceremonial aspects of the law and what they did is over the years they began to think that if you do these specific things that the law requires us to do by doing them you'll be saved but that's not the purpose of the law and Paul goes on to talk about that but back then in this day this was the issue they literally thought that unless you are circumcised you cannot be saved in fact in Acts chapter. After fifteen this was such a big issue that a lot of the leaders they got together and they had this discussion X. fifteen verse one I'll read this for you it says but some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses you cannot be saved and so this was the hot big issue back then how many of you recently have had a discussion with another person and they've told you yeah that's great talk about Jesus Christ but unless you're circumcised you can be saved as you have is anyone ever had a discussion like that no we had this issue has been resolved the Church the Body of Christ has obviously resolve this and we look at Paul's Epistles and just the rest of the New Testament and this is done that issue doesn't exist anymore today however if you look at human history ever since this was written Satan has been busy creating new gospel.
And he's been inserting them into human history and what Paul says next about having an angel come in th you a new truth it's actually happened and so what I'm going to do today is I'm going to give you a crash course on some other major world religions again like I said I did this in a Sunday school class a couple years ago although I did this over like a three or three months so you're I'm just going to have to pick and choose different parts of these different religions that I'm going to share with you because this is exactly what Paul was mentioning I mean look at two specific religions that claim to have been started by an Angel giving a new gospel to them and another one they do they don't claim that it was started by an angel but they have extra biblical material and they claim that is overseen by the Spirit of Jesus and angels and so their information is coming out to us and so the three other religions that we're going to talk about this morning are Mormonism Jehovah Witness and the big one is law and we're just going to kind of give you a sampling of this and so I know I'm going to give you a lot of information in the next few minutes. It's going to be like getting a drink from a fire hydrant but these sermons are online and you can do some research if you want to later but I'm Let's talk about Mormonism to begin with and before I say anything else I do want to say specifically with Mormons in Jehovah Witnesses I'm not presenting this to you to shame or to ridicule anyone who is in these religions OK I have people that I truly consider friends that are both Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons I'm here in Phoenix and I grew up in Spokane Washington both of those religions are very popular so what I'm going to do is I'm just simply going to present what these religions teach OK So this is what Mormonism teaches all right Mormonism teaches that it was founded by a man named Joseph Smith I'm sure many of you probably have heard that before and the story goes or the claim goes that when Joseph Smith was fourteen years old. He was visited by God the Father in Jesus who told him that Christianity had become corrupt and three years later and Angel by the name of morrow and I came and visited Joseph Smith and told him where he could find some golden plates that were buried and that would explain the true Gospel and so later what happened to Smith miraculously found these golden plates and he translated the plates from reform de Gyptian into English and that's where they get the Book of Mormon Mormonism began in Paul Myra New York in the year eight hundred twenty right so that's how Mormonism began it began by an angel from heaven proclaiming a new gospel All right so what are the differences in the content of what Mormonism teaches and what Christianity teaches All right so here are some of the differences the differences talk about who God is Mormonism teaches that man you and me that we can become like a god all right they say. Mormon prophet Lorenzo Snow said this as man is God once was as God is man may become and so they believe that Heavenly Father began as a mortal man on another planet and through learning obedience progressed to becoming a god who was given this planet to rule so they believe that Jesus was just like us who lived on another planet and he was obedient to the face and so he was given this planet to rule over all right so that's what Mormonism teaches they also teach right now that Heavenly Father who is the father of Jesus lives on a planet that circles a star named Colobus and that the Mormon God known as Elohim is also married and has many wives and that there are literally millions of gods ruling millions of planets and Mormons believe that they too can become a god like him and be given their own planet to rule over OK. This is sound like the Gospel that was given to the Apostle Paul and the other possibles absolutely this is definitely a different gospel also not only is that content different but how a person is saved is also different now Mormons do claim that you are saved by grace through faith in Jesus OK So there are some similarities however then they add to it and so that's what they say they say that Jesus atone for the effects of Adam's sin allowing all mankind good and bad to be resurrected to become immortal so basically Mormonism teaches that every single human being is going to be saved but to reach full salvation or to go beyond that initial salvation you have to do this by works and so this is what one of their prophet said. The Atonement of Jesus Christ enables God's children to overcome the effects of the fall and to obtain eternal life by obedience. It also says this the effect the first effect of the Atonement is to secure to all mankind alike exemption from the penalty of the fall thus providing a plan for general salvation the second effect is to open a way for individual salvation whereby. Man we secure remission of personal sins so these are the four conditions to obtain individual or full salvation All right I'll just give you a couple of them they are to have faith in Jesus to accept Joseph Smith as his successor as God's mouthpiece to repent and be baptized and to be a member of the Latter Day Saints Church they also believe that if it were not for Joseph Smith and the restoration of this truth that salvation would not be available to any human being all right so before eight hundred twenty I don't know what they believe about who people were how people were saved or not they also believe that in order to be saved you have to keep the commandments follow all the laws and ordinances of the church do good works and you have to tie to the church All right so that's what they believe that you have to do in order to be saved a lasting about Mormonism one of their prophets name Spencer Kimball he said one of the most of foolishness doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved by the grace of God that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation. So that's what Mormonism believes that Satan tricked mankind to think in the only way you can be saved is by the grace of God So that is something else that's in the world today and this is what Paul said was going to happen so now it's Mormonism this is a great example of what Paul warned us English and Chapter one analysis walk about and Joe Hoeffel witnesses are right and again I'm not I am not an expert on Mormonism Jehovah Witnesses or Islam OK I am an expert on Christianity so I'm just sharing with you the information that I received so this is something about Jehovah Witnesses. Joe Hoeffel witnesses say that Michael the arch NG Arc Angel is none other then Jesus so they say that they're the same person and they believe that this same Michael that became flesh and died for the sins of the Jehovah Witnesses was disintegrated in after he died and then he was copied by the father. By memory and raised in spirit as Michael and so Michael and Jesus what they believe came back in the year eight hundred seventy four invisibly and he came to the Watchtower headquarters in New York in one nine hundred fourteen to inspect Jehovah's organization to see if everything is running right so the job when his headquarters are back in New York and they believe Jesus invisibly came back and he's overseeing their headquarters and making sure that the Watchtower is producing correct information and so the Watchtower's extra biblical information that is coming out and they say that it is being overseen by Michael or Jesus and angels write what they teach about sin and salvation they teach that sin was only partially atone for by Christ they Christ death paid the ransom that remove the effects of Adam's sin but individual still have to work to earn forgiveness for their president future since one of their leaders said this is a quote they say belief involves taking in accurate knowledge of God's purposes and his way of salvation then Faith has to be exercised in Jesus as the chief agent not the only but the first agents of salvation this places the Christian in a saved condition but he must now purser veering doing good gods who are God's will and continue to adhere to all God's requirements for the rest of his life and only then will he be saved to eternal life so this is a salvation by works so here's the requirements for salvation baptism by immersion repentance active association with the Watchtower Society righteous activity absolute loyalty to Jehovah and then even then there's still no salvation assurance of salvation and if you can't live up to those requirements then your disfellowshipped by the Watchtower Society and have no hope for salvation right that's what the Jehovah Witnesses believe it is a is a gospel of works all right and now. Well is long it did I don't know if any of you heard what Alex Goulart said that they were in a mosque All right I personally I'm sure I probably know some people who are Islamic or Muslims I couldn't tell you it my friend you know this person and this person are is all this but Alex grew in Delta Goulart are in Paraguay and that's the religion that they are kind of battling with and so this is very real maybe not so much in America right now but this is the major world religion that Christianity is definitely I'm going up against the word is one how many of you know what is long means it means obedience or submission or surrender.
Islam was started fifteen hundred years ago in Mecca Saudi Arabia by the Prophet Muhammad and while Mohammad was contemplating inside a cave and angel named Gabriel came and visited him and the angel gave him messages over the next twenty three years and so this is what Islam teaches about sin and salvation they believe that people are born sinless and are good by nature therefore we don't need a savior but we depend on our own efforts to please Allah and so there are monotheists as well they believe that there is only one God They also believe that all people will be judged on Judgment Day according to their deeds helping others testifying to the truth of God leading a virtuous life and they believe that if you did more things good things than all law will count out against the bad things that you did one of their prophecies coming from there the Koran this is from Sir twenty three one hundred one hundred three it says those then those whose balance of good deeds is heavy they will be successful but those whose balances light will be those who have lost their souls in… will they abide and so in other words to go to Paradise which they believe is why. Or you go when you die you have to believe in Allah the prophets of Islam the Koran angels and judgement day you have to repent and obey Islamic law but that still might not be enough so Islam is a religion based on works hopefully you do enough to please Allah and if you do enough then you get to go to paradise and so can you understand why there are radical Islamics they are doing things to the extreme because what they're doing is they truly believe that they're doing something that is going to please Allah and if they can please all ah all will forgive their sins and allow them to come into heaven so these are some of the belief systems that are out there in the world today and guess what Paul warned us that this was going to happen that angels from heaven are going to preach a new gospel to people let's go back to Paul and what I want to do is I want to read the rest of first chapter one of the lation Zz and I want you to see how Paul explains how he received the message that Christ gave to him and you're going to see some similarities and some differences and we're going to highlight the differences at the very end so let's go ahead let's read the rest of the lation chapter once a glacial chapter one beginning in verse eleven.
So as for I would have you know brothers that the Gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel for I did not receive it from any man nor was I taught it but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ here stop right there what's the number one difference between Paul and the other religions Jesus Christ is the one who came the resurrected Jesus Christ is the one who came and talked to the possible verse thirteen for you have heard of my former life in Judaism how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 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. Years but when he would set me apart before I was born and who called me by His Grace was pleased to reveal his son to me in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles I did not immediately consult with anyone nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me but I went into Arabia and returned again to Damascus then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit kephas who was Peter in remain with him fifteen days but I saw none of the other apostles except Jesus the Lord's brother and what I am writing to you before God I do not lie then I went into the regions of Syria and Silicio and I was still unknown in persons person to the churches in Judea that are in Christ they only were hearing it said he who used to persecute us is now preaching the face he once tried to destroy and they glorify God because of me and so I think in this passage you see obviously the difference is that Jesus appeared to Paul Jesus Himself appeared to Paul and in the next chapter what Paul does is he validates his message by going in confirming with the original possibles and we'll look at that next week besides the deliverer of the message was Jesus the content is different Listen every other religion in this world teaches essentially the same thing they teach the only way you can get to heaven or paradise or to. Wherever it is that you think you're supposed to it achieve you can only get there by works so every other region religion if they're true then that means that when someone gets to heaven or paradise then they will all be able to say the same phrase listen they'll be able to say I am here because I did this. And you know what they gives man the ability to do to boast
other religions give man the ability to boast and God tells us that in his presence none of us will be able to boast Let me read for you from first Corinthians one twenty eight it says God chose what is low and despised in the world even things that are not to bring to nothing things that are so that no human being might boast in the presence of God when we stand before God none of us will be able to boast we will only be able to say I am here because of what you did for me now what if you choose to wait nine cents just for by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing it is the gift of God not a result of works so that no one may boast.
So what is the core of this gospel you know we talk about the good news and we're talking about Christianity so what is the core of the good news of Christianity and we're able to kind of boil it down to the most essential parts of what is the gospel the wonderful thing is and first Corinthians Chapter fifteen Paul does exactly that so I want to all over to Georgia First Corinthians Chapter fifteen and we'll look at exactly what this gospel is what this good news is that Paul told the people in Galatians
First Corinthians Chapter fifteen beginning in verse one and this is a truth that has not changed First Corinthians Chapter fifteen beginning in verse one.
He says now I would remind your brothers of the gospel I preach to you which you received in which you stand and by which you are being saved if you hold fast to the word I preach to you unless you believed in vain and here it is here's the Gospel first three For I delivered you as a first importance what I also received that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures That's the good news that's the good news right there that God promised that he was going to do this before he did it and he sent his Son to die on the cross he was buried in the after three days he rose from the grave and that's all a person needs to do in order to be saved is to believe in that and so we will be able to stand before God some day and not boast but we will be able to say God I am here because of what you did for me by your grace I am saved. You know if you're here today I hope that you have taken what Paul says in First Corinthians fifteen and you have placed your face in your trust in this this is by face but obviously the nice thing is we look at scripture and we realize that there is so much evidence that supports this faith especially when it says Christ died on the cross for our sins according to the Scriptures and he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures God gives us enough reason and evidence to believe that this is true but if you're here today and maybe you're not following a specific other religion but if you in your mind in your heart you've been thinking you know what I know there's a God I know there's a heaven and I want to be there someday when I die but you're trying to do it through your own good works you're trying to do it so you can say God I was good enough I did more good than bad hopefully you'll realize that that's not going to get you into heaven and today you can place your face in what Christ did alone as the reason why you can have the hope of eternal life if you're today and you've never done that I invite you. To make that confession of faith right now like when you close your eyes and about your head and if you're here today and you realize that it's only what Christ did for you and not your own works that can get you the right standing with God simply pray this prayer to God and He will hear you just simply pray. To your father I believe. I believe you sent Jesus to die for my sins and I believe you raised him from the dead to give us the hope of eternal life. I place my faith in what Jesus did for me as the only reason why I can have my sins forgiven in B.C..
If you've ever prayed that prayer or if you prayed that just today for the very first time you are and forever will be a child of God and that is the gospel that saves us let's close in prayer us thank God for giving us this truth.
Dear Lord I thank you so much for what you've written to us today through the Apostle Paul and I know that even at the time when you were inspiring him to write these words he was dealing with the issue there in Galatians about circumcision and how people were trying to convince people that they had to do the works of the law in order to be saved and obviously Lord in that time those issues were resolved and people saw the truth of of the message the Lord as we go through human history we see that Satan is still trying to battle your truth and we see that he has caused millions and millions of people throughout human history to be led into deception and so father and I pray that you open our eyes continue to have our eyes open to what the truth is thank you for giving us your written word that is consistent through the ages so that we can study it and we can know what your truth is and Lorida for us as a church I just pray that you will help us to be a mouthpiece that shares with the world around us the true Gospel that salvation comes only through the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ and the Lord right now as we are in the season of Christmas and I know that we might be getting more people visiting. Yes I pray that that message will be very clear and that you might move people's hearts and minds to understand the truth of the One True Gospel and Lord thank you so much for saving us none of us want to be able to be boasting before you in heaven and only thing that we can do is boast about what you've done for us and so Lord I thank you so much for this passage that we're able to read today which gives us confidence in the assurance of our salvation we pray this in Christ me even.
Now I mean the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all that.