The Settled Gospel

by Pastor Andrew Wolfenbarger

Galatians 1:8-9 - “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

The setting is the Sunday morning church service. There is a palpable excitement in the room. It is like Easter Sunday morning but even more electric. You thought it was just another Sunday, but something is different, though you cannot tell what it is. The music begins, and you notice the congregation is more engaged than customary. When it comes time for the message, the Pastor approaches the pulpit with vitality and says, “It is with great excitement that I introduce to you the Archangel Gabriel.” Suddenly a bright light appears on the platform. He has the glow of Heaven’s glory radiating from his countenance. With his booming voice like a trumpet, he exclaims, “God hath appointed that good men may be accepted in His sight and has no need of redemption.” And just as quickly as he appears, he vanishes. What should our church do with that message?

The Apostle Paul lays out exactly what the church should do. We should say, “Let Gabriel be accursed.” We may immediately recognize that whoever we heard speak was not a representative of the most High God nor His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. He was a deceiver and a false prophet. Paul even says this of himself. He writes, “But though we… preach any other gospel… let him be accursed”, indicating that the gospel of God was so settled and secure that even the Apostle had the potential to change, but the gospel most certainly would not.

There is a sentiment in our world that old things need to be revised and updated to be relevant for today’s sophisticated man. That mentality is rooted in pride and is not true in the least. It is the same gospel of grace my simple kin folk in the hills of Tennessee believed that saved my sinful soul from hell. We don’t need a better gospel or an updated gospel, we need the true gospel.

The gospel is under attack today and there are three concerns we must be aware of:

1. We must avoid a perverse gospel
Dr. Adrian Rogers said of the devil, “He is a pervert.” This is true because, for every good thing that God has given to mankind, the devil has perverted to make men settle for less than what God has provided them. The gospel is no different. He offers a gospel but says that once you are saved, your salvation depends upon your performance. Or, for others, he offers a gospel that demands nothing after salvation. In both scenarios, he steals the true joy of faith in Christ.

2. We must avoid a man-centered gospel
The gospel centers upon a Person. Your gospel will either rest upon you, or it will rest upon Jesus Christ. A gospel that hinges upon man’s effort, intellect, or accomplishments is work. A gospel that rests upon Christ is the gospel of grace. These two gospels cannot co-exist, for the Bible affirms that there can be no mingling of them.
Romans 11:6 - "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."

3. We must avoid a neglected gospel
Many people have the gospel neatly filed away in their souls. Every doctrine is understood, and all their questions have been answered. Unfortunately for them, the gospel is not something that can be packed away, but something that must be lived out. To have a proper grasp on the true gospel, but for it to not have a grasp on you is impossible. Imagine having a collision with a locomotive that didn’t rearrange your life.

Paul called the gospel, “the power of God unto salvation”. Once you comprehend the gospel, you cannot help but be apprehended by it so that it changes your manner of life.






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