I. Paul’s Credentials (1–7)
II. Paul’s Concern (8–15)
III. Paul’s Confidence (16–17)
Paul affirms his confidence in the gospel because he knows God is behind it all.
A. Question of Shame (16a)To many, the NT gospel is a message that is foolish & absurd.
Christians were antinomian = anti – against / nomos = law – against the law.
Christians follow a man who was cursed by God for being hung on a tree. (Deut 21:23)
So from their perspective, who would want to associate with Christians?
Gal 1:6-8 – 6) “I marvel that you are so soon removed from him who called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7) which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, & would pervert the gospel of Christ, 8) But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accursed” = damned!
Gal 1:10 – “Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondslave of Christ”.
Col 2:8 – “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
2 Tim 4:1-4 – 1) I charge you therefore before God & the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing & His kingdom: 2) Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Correct, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. 3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4) and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
The preaching of the Word is “out of season” today as Church-goers want a church experience that will “satisfy them on their own terms.”Lack of doctrinal preaching has caused serious error – denial of hell, heaven apart from holiness, self-esteem instead of condemned sinners.
Ears are “tickled” with a hint of truth without the conviction of sin.
* The Prosperity Gospel – see Mat 8:19-20; Luke 9:23 (deny yourself, take up your cross)
* The Seeker-Sensitive Gospel – make people “feel comfortable” in church so they will return.
But the gospel is always offensive to human pride because it confronts sinners & demands repentance
Anything else is a gospel that does not save! And if it doesn’t save, why preach it?
Jesus confronted the Samaritan woman with her sin & false worship,
And demanded repentance from the adulterous woman – go & sin no more.
If sin is not addressed people will not realize they are under God’s wrath (Rom 1:18) and will not know they need to be rescued! So why be ashamed of the gospel when it is the power of God unto salvation.
* Contempt for the gospel is a strong proof of the truth of the Gospel. (1 Cor 1:18-24)
1 Cor 2:2 – “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
Gal 6:14 – “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The main reason why people formulate their own gospel is because they reject the truth that GOD alone saves.
J.I.Packer“If we forget that it is God’s prerogative to give results when the gospel is preached, we shall start to think that it is our responsibility to secure them. And if we forget that only God can give faith, we shall start to think that the making of converts depends, not on God, but on us, and that the decisive factor is the way in which we evangelize. And this line of thought, consistently followed through, will lead us far astray.”
Inherent in the gospel message is the power of an omnipotent God who can save the vilest sinner & transform the hardest heart. And that is the reason why God’s gospel, as opposed to man’s wisdom, is GOOD NEWS! God does it all for us in Christ.
God is aware of the offensive nature of his Gospel.
Jeremiah 6:10 – the word of the Lord is a reproach to them, they have no delight in it.
Jude 3 – hold fast to the Faith once delivered.
“Let us never be ashamed of the truth. Everybody admires Luther! Yes, but you do not want any one else to do the same today. We admire a man who was firm in the faith, say 400 years ago. Yet imagine if in those ages past, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and their peers had said, “the world is out of order; but if we try to set it right we shall only make a great row, and get ourselves into disgrace. Let us go to our chambers, put on our night-caps, and sleep over the bad times, and perhaps when we wake up things will have grown better.” No! These men loved the faith and the name of Jesus too well to see them trampled on.
“It is today as it was in the Reformers’ days. Decision is needed. We who have had the gospel passed to us by martyr hands dare not trifle with it, nor sit by & hear it denied by traitors, who pretend to love it, but inwardly abhor every line of it. The faith I hold bears upon it marks of the blood of my ancestors. Shall I deny their faith? Shall we cast away the treasure which was handed to us through the bars of prisons, or came to us charred with the flames of the stake?
“When I think of how others have suffered for the faith, the little scorn or unkindness to me, seems a mere trifle, not worthy of mention. I must not be ashamed of the old gospel. God helping me, I will endure the consequences of what men think obstinant.
“Look you, sirs, there are ages yet to come. If the Lord does not speedily appear, there will come another generation, and another, and all these generations will be tainted & injured if we are not faithful to God and to His truth today. We have come to a turning-point in the road. If we turn to the right, perhaps our children & our children’s children will go that way; but if we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God & to His Word. I charge you, not only by your ancestry, but by your posterity, that you seek to win the commendation of your Master, that though you dwell where Satan’s seat is, you yet hold fast Christ’s name, and do not deny His faith. God grant us faithfulness, for the sake of the souls around us! How is the world to be saved if the church is false to her Lord? How are we to lift the masses if our fulcrum is removed? If our gospel is uncertain, what remains but increasing misery and despair? Stand fast, my beloved, in the name of God! I your brother in Christ, entreat you to abide in the truth. Quit yourselves like men, be strong. The Lord sustain you for Jesus’ sake.”