Sermon Text: Galatians 1:1 – 10
Pastor Daniel Schmidt
Whom do you trust? Maybe you think of a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, a teacher, or a classmate. In his Word today, the Lord comes to you and me and asks, “Do you trust me?” So I ask you to answer this question for yourself: DO YOU TRUST THE LORD? I invite you to listen as I read the first 10 verses of Galatians chapter 1:
Paul, an apostle — sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead — and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 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 — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul is writing to a group of churches where he had shared the message of complete forgiveness through Jesus. Why did they trust Paul? Why did they listen to him? Because, as he tells them, he was “sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father.”
But Paul was no longer with these churches. Right behind him were others who were telling the people to trust them instead of Paul. They were telling people that they couldn’t trust Paul because he had not given them the whole story. This group, known today as “The Judaizers”, were teaching people that in addition to believing in Jesus as the Savior, they also had to obey all the Old Testament Laws.
As a messenger for the Lord, Paul knows that such a teaching is spiritually dangerous. Such a false message would not strengthen the Galatians’ relationship with the one and only true God, but rather it would destroy their God-given gift of faith in Jesus as their one and only Savior. So, Paul addresses it right away at the beginning of his letter. He writes, “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 — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
To change the message of God’s Word is serious. To change the message of the Bible is not simply one person’s opinion vs. another person’s opinion. What Paul is telling the Galatians is that they should not trust anyone who is adding to or subtracting from the truth of the Gospel. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”
Do you trust the Lord? Do you trust that Jesus took care of the guilt for all of your sins once and for all? You and I show that we don’t trust the Lord anytime we start to think, “God has to be happy with me. Look at all the time I spend in his Word at home. Look at all the time I spend coming to church week after week. Look at all I do for my church, for my family or for my friends and neighbors.” But any effort of you or me to win God’s favor on our own, only fail. The Bible tells you and me very clearly that “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” Without Jesus, God’s Word teaches you and me that “all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
Because you and I are so quick to look at what we can do to win our place in heaven, God’s Word asks us the question, “Do you trust the Lord?” Listen again to what God’s Word says to you and me this morning, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever.”
Did you hear the Good News of what Jesus did for you? He “gave himself for [your] sins to rescue [you] from the present evil age.” The word in the Greek that is translated “rescue” literally means “to save from destruction.” Think of the special garbage pick up days that many towns have. People put out piles and piles of garbage in front of their homes. What is going to happen to all that garbage? It will all be destroyed in one way or another. But what else do you see? Not only do you see the piles of garbage, but you also see people digging through those piles of garbage, pulling out items that they feel are valuable to them and rescuing those things from their certain destruction.
This is what God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, has done for you and me. He has pulled you and me out from the garbage heap of our sins. Our merciful God has rescued you and me from certain destruction in the fires of hell that our sins deserved. In his Gospel, the loving Lord gives you and me his grace and peace. The great, undeserved love of your Savior-God, gives you and me the peace, the comfort, the assurance, that all of your sins and all of my sins are forgiven. Because of Jesus, you and I are able to go before our Lord, confessing our sins, trusting that the payment price for that sin has been paid in full by our one and only Savior.
Do you trust the Lord? He freely gives you his grace. He freely gives you his peace. He freely gives you the forgiveness of all of your sins. Listen to what God’s Word says to you in Ephesians chapter 2, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Do you trust the Lord? It comes easy for us to say that we trust the Lord when things are going well for us. But when things get tough in life, then the doubt starts creeping in. The Devil whispers in our ears, “Where is your loving God? Are you sure that you can trust him?” And your sinful nature and mine are far too willing to listen to the Devil.
At those times when sinful doubts come into our minds, then you and I need to go back to God’s Word and listen to him speak his promises to us that nothing “in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Maybe you or a loved one are struggling with a health problem at this time. Maybe you and your family are struggling with a personal problem in your life right now. Maybe you are not content in your life, and you are having doubts about God’s love for you. If so, then go back to the empty tomb of your Savior. It is our risen and living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that gives you and me the grace and peace that can only come from him and his Word. It is our risen and living Savior that leads you and me to say along with King David in Psalm 139, “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me…I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well…All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.”
“Do you trust me?” Someone may say this to us, and because they have hurt us in the past, you and I hesitate to give them our trust. Do you trust the Lord? Our loving Lord has neverlet you down. His will is always done. His will for you and me is always our eternalgood. As you and I pray to God the Holy Spirit to increase our trust in our Savior-God, the Good News for you and me this morning is that Jesus “gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”