Flash Point

Bible Book: Galatians  1 : 1-10
Subject: Revival, Eternal Life; Jesus, the Only Way

As Paul begins his letter to the Galatians, he seems to be whipped into a frenzy of irritation. The issue in these opening words is the Gospel of our Lord. The Galatians were being led astray by what Paul called, "another gospel." I must admit that the modern church is also being led astray. Why do I say that?

It was recently reported that a great a majority of professing Christians believe that people who do not believe in Jesus Christ may get to heaven if they are dedicated to their own set of beliefs. This is in direct contradiction to the teaching of our Lord. Look at John 14:1-6, "'Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.' 5 Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus said to him, ëI am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'"(NKJV)

There is no doubt that Jesus taught us that He is the only way to forgiveness of sin, the new birth and eternal life. Jesus stated clearly that, "No one comes to the Father except through me." Either Jesus was telling the truth or He is a liar. Sadly, people who claim to know Christ have been persuaded through political correctness that they should not profess exclusively that Jesus is the "only way" to salvation.

When Paul saw that some Galatians Christians were making the error of leaving the true Gospel, it was like striking a match in his heart. He flamed up and said that anyone who would preach any gospel other than the Gospel of Christ will be accursed. We may not like the language in this text, but we must either reject the entire Gospel or accept ALL of the Gospel. In other words, we can't have it both ways. Either Jesus is the only way or He is not the way at all. Every true believe knows that Christ alone can save us!

Now, how did the false teachers in Galatia attempt to lead the people away from the true Gospel? They did so by attacking Paul's authority. When Paul heard this, he sat down to pen his most vehement letter in the New Testament. Paul was literally on fire for the Lord when he wrote these words. It is true that Paul defended his apostleship in this letter, but that is not his main purpose. In fact, in an antithetical move Paul postulated that it was not his apostleship which verified his gospel, but rather it was his Gospel that verified his apostleship! Beneath all this there are some things that motivated Paul to become a burning vessel for God with this letter. The same things which moved him to be stirred to actions and excitement for Christ, will do the same for us, if we will apply them.

We need Christians today who are "fired up." I don't mean that our spirit is wrong, or that we act in anger. But, we must STAND for Christ or we will FALL FOR anything! We must have a passion about the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross for our sins. What will set us on fire for Jesus today?

I. Magnanimous Calvary

Paul recalls Calvary. Dear friends, if the Cross of Christ is not a divine sacrifice for sins, there is no sacrifice for sins. In that case, we are all lost. Look at Galatians 2:21, "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." (NKJV) Paul goes on to point out that no one can be justified before God through the Law. That is, no one ever becomes right in the eyes of God through doing good things. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not, "Do," but rather the Gospel of Jesus is, "Done." Why? The work of salvation is "doneî"because Christ paid it all! He gave His perfect life for imperfect sinners like us that we might be made right in the eyes of God!

A. The Enormous Sacrifice

What a sacrifice Jesus made for us! Why did Jesus come to this earth, suffer the death of the Cross, unless it was a requirement for our sins? Paul knew and spoke often of the terrible price Jesus paid for our sins. If a person could get to heaven by some other circuitous route, the Cross would be unnecessary. When anyone says that a person can go to heaven by some other "door," other than Jesus, that person is belittling the awful death our precious Lord endured for our sins. Shame on anyone who would dishonor His enormous sacrifice for sin!

B. The Empty Sepulcher

In the first verse of Galatians, Paul mentions that Jesus was raised from the dead. He is pointing out that Jesus died for our sins, but that He is a risen Lord. We are not serving a set of beliefs, a denomination, a cultural religion, or a code of ethics! Christians, we serve a LIVING LORD! He is risen. He alone can justify us before God. Christianity is not a religion; Christianity is a relationship. We come to Christ, He redeems us, and then He stands for us before the Father. The empty tomb testifies that our faith is not in some religious leader but in a risen Lord!

II. Magnificent Calling

How did we come to the salvation we possess? God spoke to us through the Spirit. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We were called by the Spirit of God to accept the Son of God that we might be made right with the Almighty God. It is not our work, it is HIS work!

A. Called Into Something

Paul points out that he was called into something. He was called into the Christian faith "through Christ." He also points out that he was called into a family of "brothers" in Christ. In other words, being a Christian means being born again into a spiritual family. Salvation is not found through some higher moral lifestyle. After all, whose standard would you follow? No one has ever kept God's standard. Look at Romans 3:23 - we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. So, how do you get rid of your sin? You are called by God through the Spirit to come to Christ. Don't ever let anyone intimidate you into accepting anything less than Christ and Christ alone!

B. Called For Something

You were not just called "into" something, you were called "for" something. Paul points out that he was called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. We are all called to serve our Lord. We are called to know the Lord, have eternal life, and to tell others about Him. To water down the message of Jesus and offer people some false, dead-end road to heaven, is to be a traitor to Christ! Look at Matthew 28:18-20. Dear Christian, the world will seek to intimidate you and embarrass you into weakening your message of the exclusivity of Jesus. Remember, that the Cross is foolishness to those who do not believe. They will try to make you feel foolish, but you are only foolish when you don't take a stand for Jesus. HE IS THE ONLY WAY. He called you to Himself. He will call others through our testimony if we will but be true to Him and His Gospel!

C. Called From Something

Look at Galatians 1:4. He has called us from "this present evil world." Now listen carefully to what this verse says. Jesus came to die at Calvary to "deliver" us from this evil world. You can't deliver yourself from evil. In the Lord's Prayer we are taught by our Lord to pray for God to "deliver" us from evil. Why pray for something you can do for yourself? You cannot deliver yourself through good works, religious activities, kind acts, sacred rituals, etc. Christ and Christ alone is the Savior of the human soul. He called us out of our sins and into His glorious salvation!

III. The Magnified Conclusion

I want to place a magnifying glass over two important conclusions that Paul makes in our text.

A. The Wonderful Affirmation

"Glory!" Amen. Paul speaks of the glory that is rightly due to our Lord because of all that He has done for us. What glory is there in denying the Gospel of Jesus? Yet, that is what some of the Galatians were doing. They had begun to accept other ways of being made right with God besides the Cross and resurrection of Jesus. Paul "shouts" a "glory" for our Lord to remind them, and us, that all the glory belongs to Jesus!

I once had a church member who loved the world "glory." Whenever someone sung a song in one of our services that lifted up Jesus, he would say loudly, "Well, glory!" It did not matter if more than a thousand people were in that worship service, he would shout, "Well, glory." In the midst of a sermon, when he heard something that reminded him of how great Jesus really is, he would shout, "Well, glory!"

Friends, Jesus is worthy of our glory! Our Heavenly Father deserves for us to give Him glory. How sad it is when we try to take the glory from Him and give it to ourselves or others by claiming that we can be right with God without the Savior. May God have mercy on us if we ever do that!

B. The Woeful Astonishment

Paul was astonished that anyone would ever "leave this gospel," for "another gospel." Are you astonished by this? It is happening today just as it did in Galatia many years ago. The world is trying to pressure us into a corner by making us sound "narrow." That is okay! Jesus said the way is narrow that leads to eternal life.

Larry King, a former talk-show television host, had a Christian leader on his program one night and he asked him this question, "Do you believe that Jews will go to hell if they don't accept Jesus?"

The leader said, "It is not my duty to say who will go to hell. But I will turn to a Jew to answer your question. Jesus was a Jew. And, Jesus said that no one could come to God, and to the heavenly home, without coming through Him, without coming through Christ."

Larry King went on to press the leader and try to make him look evil and hateful. Dear friends, don't expect less from the world. There is one way to an eternal relationship with God and that is through Christ alone. Those are not my words. Those are the words of Christ, Himself.

The Lord called us the "Light of the World." We can only give forth light that comes from Christ. We have no light of our own. Just as the moon can only reflect the light given by the sun, we can only reflect light from the Son of God! He is the Light of the Word and He lights every man and woman who believes in Him as Savior. We cannot light the world with the Gospel is we have a smoldering faith and a lukewarm heart.

Why are we not more on fire for Him? Note with me three things which set Paul on fire as he wrote this letter.

IV. Conclusion

I believe you will discover, as you study the New Testament, that three things set Paul on fire - that "got his dander up!" These were his concerns.

A. The Sinner Without Grace

Paul got close enough to the Lord to have the heart of the Lord. Paul grieved to think of a sinner dying without the grace that Jesus offered. We need that same passion today! I promise you that most Christians are much more upset if the line is too long at the restaurant after the Sunday morning service than they are that no one was saved in that service. We need a flash point in our hearts - a burning desire to see people saved.

B. The Saved Without Growth

Paul was disturbed to see so many Christians we were still babies in the Lord, even after months or years of being saved. He spoke often of growing in the Lord. It is sad to think that some who claim Christ can so easily be persuaded that there is another way to heaven other than Christ.

C. The Savior Without Glory

This is what troubled Paul most as he penned the letter to the Galatians. He was troubled that the Savior was not being given the glory that was due His name. Oh, dear Christian, let us not rob Christ of His glory. He deserves our faithful testimony that He is not just "a way" but that He is "the Way." He is the "only Way."

I once served as a chaplain for the fire department in the city where my church was located. I learned that three things are necessary for combustion to take place. First, one must have something that will burn. Second, one must have air. Third, one must have a spark or source to ignite the fire. As Christian, let's have three things in our lives that creates a fire of devotion to Christ. First, we must have a heart of love for Jesus. We must never forget what He did for us at Calvary. Second, let's have a desire to see every Christian grow and to see growth in our own lives for Christ. Lastly, let's have a deep compassion for those who do not know the Lord. If these things are real in our lives, a fire will be kindled in us and that fire can explode in a spiritual revival we so desperately need!