This has been a really difficult week, hasn’t it? Like many of you, I watched yesterday afternoon as people stormed the United States Capital … leading to four deaths and damage to a place representing the rule of law. Literally, my mouth was open and my heart heavy as I watched the events unfold.
In 2021, everyone has a microphone and no one has an editor. Anyone can say whatever they want to say and (through the amplification of social media) broadcast that perspective to the universe. Those proclamations lead to a lot of things. At times inspiring revival. At other times inciting riots. Words matter … and we should be careful how we use them.
I was thinking about this today as I read Galatians 1:6-10 in preparation for Sunday. What I saw in those verses is the Apostle Paul grabbing the “microphone” of his pen and writing a letter to the churches in Galatia to share with them what he was outraged about. There was something that made his heart heavy and something that caused his mouth to fall open with surprise. AND … Paul’s response was not just a late night reaction, but something that had passed through the ultimate editor-in-chief, the Holy Spirit of God, and still made its way to publication. That means that the thing that Paul was so outraged about was something WORTH being outraged about.
What was it that got him so worked up? An election? A personal offense? His favorite sports team? These are the things that motivate us to post our unedited outrage. What was Paul so worked up about?
Paul was worked up about the distortion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The integrity of the Gospel of Jesus was more important than all else. After all, it is through the Gospel of Grace that men and women are saved from eternal destruction. It is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ that men and women are rescued from “this present evil age.” The rest of our lives show us our need for Jesus … His Gospel is the answer to the questions created in all other venues. Any perversion of the Gospel message by adding to or subtracting from it has extremely dire consequences for humankind.
The Apostle Paul made this quite clear in the early stages of a letter he wrote to a collection of churches he planted in Galatia as he posted, “If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:9)”
In response to the news that there were people teaching a different Gospel in the Galatian churches, Paul was justifiably outraged and (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) called down judgment from God on all who were perpetrating these lies.
Why was he so outraged? After all, Paul never got this worked up over another’s political leanings or leisure time activities. Paul’s response here is even more aggressive than his response to some of the bizarre moral actions of the Corinthians. Why does he come so unglued over perversions to the Gospel message in Galatia?
We will explore why this was so serious this Sunday, January 10, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church in part 2 of our series “The New Normal” as we look at Galatians 1:6-10. It is my hope that God might use this message to clarify for us just how important the Gospel message is FOR US, as we clarify it, cling to it, and share it with a lost and dying world.
What we believe matters. I am not saying that we should not have perspectives on politics, family, or football (or that we shouldn’t express our views on those items via social media or engage to bring about change where appropriate) … what I am saying is that we should care about the Gospel MORE … because through it the world has hope, peace, and grace — 3 things we all desperately need – and they are found in Jesus Christ. See you Sunday at 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30 (in person and with children, student, and adult classes meeting) or 10:15 on the livestream (wildwoodchurch.org/live)