There is Only One – October 13, 2019 (Televised Version with Captioning)

There is Only One – October 13, 2019 (Televised Version with Captioning)


male announcer: The
following program is paid for by the friends and partners
of “Touching Lives.” James Merritt: The only faith
in the world that uses the word “grace” is Christianity. You don’t find grace in Islam. You don’t find grace
in Buddhism. You don’t find grace in Judaism. You don’t find grace
in Hinduism. The only religion that uses
the word or the only faith that uses the word “grace” is
Christianity. Every other religious faith
comes down to goodness. announcer: Teaching people
everywhere who Jesus is and why they need him. This is “Touching Lives”
with James Merritt. James: I am amazed and I’m going
to say this again, I am amazed at a pastor in two things. Who some people listen
to and what some people believe. It is mind boggling to me. So, when it comes to the gospel,
Paul says there’s only one true gospel. And here’s how you can know that
somebody’s preaching the one true gospel and you’re listening
to the one true gospel. He said, “First of all, the true
gospel emphasizes the grace of God.” The true gospel emphasizes
the grace of God. Now, this is a very unusual
letter. Go to any other letter that Paul
writes, here’s what Paul always does, he does what we do. He sends a greeting. He kinda says, “Hey, how are you
guys doin’? I’ve been missing you a lot. I’m sorry I’m not been able
to come by and see you. Wanted to check in, see how
things were going.” So, it’s all these kinda warm
fuzzies, right? And he does that in every other
letter except Galatians. Galatians, no greeting, no warm
fuzzies. He skips all the formalities. He jumps right into the water
and he says, “Okay, we’ve got a problem and we’re gonna deal
with this problem.” Verse 6, “I’m astonished that
you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live
in the grace of Christ and you are turning to a different
gospel.” Paul says, I “just can’t
believe. I come in, I teach, I preach, I
see many of you come to Christ. I’m not been gone hardly at all
and some of you are already turning away from the gospel.” Now, what was going on? Well, here’s what’s happening
in the whole book, just keep this in mind, there were some
people who had infiltrated the church and they were known
as Judaizers. You don’t have to remember that
name. You might wanna write it
down and remember. They were called Judaizers. Who were the Judaizers? These were Jews, who said they
followed Jesus, who said they had trusted Jesus. However, they said it’s not
enough to follow Jesus, it’s not enough to believe in Jesus, it’s
not enough to have faith in Jesus. You still have to become a Jew. If you’re a guy, you still have
to be circumcised. If you’re a woman, you’re still
gonna be a part of the Jewish religion. You still got to obey the law. You still gotta keep all these
rules and all these regulations, by the way, that we’ve come
up with if you really want to be right with God. And Paul says, I “cannot believe
you’ve already turned on a dime and you’ve accepted the exact
opposite of all that I preached to you when I was with you.” By the way, the word that Paul
uses for desert, I can’t believe you deserted so quick, he
actually uses a military term. And it’s a term that refers
to how a soldier would desert the battlefield. What he’s really saying is, “You
know what you Galatians are? You’re spiritual deserters. You are spiritual turn coats. You have turned your back
on the very truth that I told. You have bought the lie that
many people still believe that you’ve got to be good enough
for God or God won’t be good to you.” They still believe that the love
of God is not a prize. It’s not a gift that you
receive. It is a prize you have to earn. That is the mark of a spiritual
deserter. So, let me just make this real
simple. There’s a little three letter
word, if you ever hear anybody add this word to God, or add
this word to Jesus, or add this word to grace, or add this word
to faith, if you ever hear that little word “and” just know
you’ve deserted the gospel. Somebody says, “You want to be
right with God? You must accept Jesus and be
baptized,” they just deserted the gospel. “You want to be right with God? You’ve got to accept Jesus
and be a part of our church. You’ve got to accept Jesus
and you’ve got to go through our rituals. You’ve gotta accept Jesus
and you’ve got to be confirmed. You want to– you’ve got
to accept Jesus and you gotta do this. You’ve got to do that. You’ve gotta do all these good
things. Don’t do these other things.” You just deserted the gospel. Because when you add the little
word “and” it sounds like a very innocent word. But when you add the word “and”
to the grace of God, here’s what you just said, “The grace
of God’s not enough. The grace of God just doesn’t
cut it.” Well here’s what the gospel
says. The gospel says not only is
the grace of God enough. The Gospel says the grace of God
is all you need. As a matter of fact, let me tell
ya it gets worse. The only offer God makes to you
is grace. Now, you can take it or leave it
but he’s not offering anything else. See, not only had they turned
from the gospel and from grace. They had turned from the God
of grace that gave them the gospel. ‘Cause there’s only one gospel,
that’s the God of the gospel of grace. So, when you turn your back
on the grace of God– on the grace of God, you just
turn your back on the God of grace. So, Paul is kinda taking
the Galatians to the wood shed a little bit but then he turns
from the Galatians, who were turning away from the gospel,
and then he turns to these false teachers who are perverting
the gospel. He says, “Which is really no
gospel at all.” He says, “By the way, when I say
you’ve turned to another gospel, there really isn’t any other
gospel, but evidently some people are throwing you
into confusion and they’re trying to pervert the gospel
of Christ.” Now, the word “perverts” really
interesting. It’s a word that means, pervert,
it makes to reverse. You may be familiar with this
term so this’ll make sense. While these people were doing,
they were trying to reverse engineer the gospel. That’s what they were doing. They were reverse engineering
the gospel. They had taken the gospel apart
and then as they put the gospel back together they started
throwing in their rules, and their regulations, and their
rituals, and their restrictions, and they put it all back
together. And by the way, there are all
kinds of perversions of the gospel that are out there
that we listen to all the time, that we hear quite a bit. I’m just going to share four
of them with you just real quickly. There’s first of all, what I
call the affluent gospel. You know we’ve heard that
before. That’s the gospel that says God
wants everybody to be rich. God wants everybody to have
the Mercedes. God wants everybody to live
in the 10000 square foot mansion, and if you don’t you’re
missing out on what God really wants for you. Poverty and Christianity does
not belong in the same sentence. And I’m not gonna harp on that
I’m just going to say I’m glad nobody told Jesus that. I’m glad nobody told Paul that. I’m glad nobody told
the disciples that. And I’m glad nobody told
the early church that because the vast majority of them did
not drive Mercedes chariots. And they did not have Rolex
sundials in their backyard. But there’s the affluent gospel. And then there’s what I call,
and by the way, this is the most popular gospel out here today. There’s what I call
the affirming gospel. Now, here’s the gospel. This is what this gospel says. God loves you unconditionally
and God loves you just as you are but then it just stopped
right there. And it doesn’t say anything
about the fact that this unconditional love does not mean
unconditional acceptance of any lifestyle that you choose. What this gospel says is come
on in, the water’s fine, you come just as you are, you stay
just as you are, you live just as you are, you died just as you
are. I’m okay, you’re okay. He’s okay. We’re all okay. God does love us
unconditionally. And God does love us just
the way we are but let me tell how much God loves us. He loves us so much he’s gonna
change the way we are. He’s not going to let us stay
the way we are. The very reason Jesus came
to this earth is to change the way we are. But there’s this gospel, this
affirming gospel. And then there’s what I call
the action gospel. This is another very popular
gospel. This is the gospel, we used
to call it the social gospel. This is the gospel where people
say, “Hey, the most important thing we can do is this, let’s
take care of the environment. Let’s feed the poor. Let’s take care of the hungry. Let’s clothe the naked. Let’s promote justice. Let’s be all about equality.” Now let me just stop and I want
to emphasize something. I’m for all of that, I really
am. I’m for everything I just said
because those are all ramifications of the gospel. Those are all results
of the gospel. Those should be exactly the way
things we ought to be concerned about if we truly believe
the gospel. But as one great man said, he
said, “If that’s all we do and we don’t preach the true
gospel, we’re just making the world a better place to go
to hell from.” So, there’s this action gospel. Over 80 years ago there was
a great theologian named Richard Niebhur. He was talkin’ about this kind
of gospel. Here’s what he called it. He said, “This is a message that
has a God without wrath, who brings men without sin,
into a kingdom without judgment, through the ministrations
of a Christ without a cross.” That’s not the gospel. Now, there’s one other kind
of gospel. This is Hollywood’s favorite
gospel, okay? This is what I call
the adaptable gospel. Now, here’s the adaptable
gospel. It doesn’t matter what you
believe just be sincere about it. Your faith is just as good as my
faith. Your religion just as good as my
religion. We’re all tryin’ to get
to the same place. We already believe in the same
God. We’re just kind of taking
different paths to get there. Love wins and because love wins,
in the end everybody wins. Well, Paul comes along and says,
“No, there’s only one gospel.” And you can put any religious
message in the world up against this gospel
and here’s what you’re gonna find. Go out– just go to the whole
buffet. We’ve talked about this last
couple of weeks. Go out to all these religious
messages that are out there and there’s over 4200 of them. And at the end of the day, you
can boil all 4200 of them down to only two messages. Only one is right. The rest of them is wrong. So, let’s leave Christianity
over here. We’re gonna put it all
by itself. You go pick any other religion
you want to pick. It does not matter to me which
one you pick. When you begin to study it,
you’ll find that they basically spell their message with two
words: Do. Don’t. Here’s what they’ll say, “If
you’ll do the things we tell you to do and if you won’t do
the things we will tell you not to do, you’ll be right with God. You will be good to go.” It’s the same message, different
words taught by every religion in the world. The things you’ve got to do,
things you better not do if you want to be right with God. But then Christianity comes
along and says, “No, we don’t spell our message with two
words, we spell our message with one word. Our word is done.” Done. That’s the faith that’s marked
by the grace of God. Christianity says, “You know
what you have to do if you wanna be right with God? Accept what God has done
for you. That’s it. Done, end of discussion. Stick a fork in it, it’s over. All we need to do is receive.” Listen, the only faith
in the world that uses the word “grace” is Christianity. You don’t find grace in Islam. You don’t find grace
in Buddhism. You don’t find grace in Judaism. You don’t find grace
in Hinduism. The only religion that uses
the word or the only faith use the word “grace” is
Christianity. Every other religious faith
comes down to goodness. And what Paul is gonna hammer
over, and over, and over, and I’m going to say it over,
and over, and over. Read my lips. That’s what– this is what Paul
said, he said read my lips, it’s somewhere I just couldn’t find
it. You will never be good enough
for God. Never. It’s grace. So, the true gospel emphasizes
the grace of God. Second thing, the true Gospel
exalts the Son of God. It exalts the Son of God. Now, when Paul talked– Paul’s
talkin’ about grace, he’s talking about a specific kind
of grace. When Paul talks
about the gospel, he specifies a particular type of gospel. So, he says, “Okay, God has
called us to live in the grace of Christ.” Then he says, “We should not
allow people to pervert the gospel of Christ.” Now, look what Paul does, he
takes the word “grace” and he takes the word “gospel” and he
connects both of them to Christ. And his whole point is the true
gospel, the only gospel worth believing, hearing, preaching,
and accepting is the gospel of Christ. So, the subject of the true
gospel is Jesus. It’s his death, it’s his burial,
it’s his resurrection. Jesus doesn’t die on the Cross,
we don’t have a gospel. Jesus isn’t buried, we don’t
have a gospel. Jesus isn’t raised
from the dead, we don’t have a gospel. Jesus is the core of the gospel. He is the crux of the gospel. He is the center of the gospel. He’s the content of the gospel. He is the crown of the gospel. And Paul is saying to these
Galatians and saying to us the gospel is all about knowing
Jesus, believing in Jesus, receiving Jesus, surrendering
to Jesus, loving Jesus, and having Jesus. The gospel revolves
around Jesus. The true gospel always shines
all of its light only on Jesus. That’s why Jesus is
at the forefront of the true gospel not in the background. He’s in the side– not
on the sidelines of the gospel. He’s on center stage
of the gospel. He’s not in the shadows
of the gospel. He is in the spotlight
of the gospel. Now, when you add anything
to the grace of Christ, here’s what you’re saying, grace isn’t
powerful enough. When you add anything
to the Gospel of Christ, what you’re saying is the gospel is
just not sufficient enough. When you add anything
to the glory of Christ, what you’re saying is Christ is just
not good enough. That’s why the true gospel
exalts the Son of God always. So, you’ll know when you’re
hearing the true gospel. Well, number one, it emphasizes
the grace of God. Number two, it exalts the Son
of God. And then Paul said this and this
is really pretty mind boggling. He said, “The true gospel
expresses the heart of God.” Because now he wants to make
sure the Galatians understand why he’s so obsessed
with the gospel. And he wants to make sure that
these people understand where this gospel came from, how this
gospel even got started. That where, you know, how it had
originated. So he says this, he says, “I
want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I
preached is not of human origin. I didn’t receive it from any man
nor was I taught it. Rather I received it
by revelation from Jesus Christ.” And here’s what Paul is saying,
Paul is saying, “I didn’t get this gospel out of a book. I didn’t learn this
in a college. I didn’t get this in some online
course. I didn’t even hear it from some
charismatic religious leader.” He said, “I got it from God
himself.” In other words, he said
the gospel is not something that a person has made up. It’s actually something that God
sent down. There are a lot of human
gospels, there’s only one heavenly gospel. There are many gospels
from the head of human beings. There’s only one gospel
from the heart of God. So, let me give you
an illustration. The central message
and the central teaching of Buddhism comes from Buddha. The central teaching and message
of Confucianism comes from Confucius. The central message and teaching
of Islam comes from Muhammad. But the central message
of Christianity comes from God. Right out of his heart, right
out of his mind, and the gospel is the only message ever given
in the history of this planet that has stamped across it made
by God. Is the only message that has his
good housekeeping seal of approval. And to show how serious Paul is,
to show how Paul, you know, ’cause sometimes we hear this,
we go, “You know when is this gonna be over? I mean I don’t think this is
a big deal.” Paul says, “Wait a minute, let
me show you how big a deal this is. Let me show you how important it
is. Let me tell you how serious it
is a, that we preach the right gospel. B, that you hear the right
gospel and c, you accept the right gospel.” So, he says this. He says, “Even if we or an angel
from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we
preached to you, let them be under God’s curse. As we’ve already said, so now I
say again, if anybody’s preaching to you a gospel other
than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse.” Now, you may know this,
but the Greek word there for a curse or be under God’s
curse is the word “anathema.” You say, what does that mean? Well, it’s not good. It literally means to be
under the wrath and the judgment of God. And Paul makes this incredible
statement, he says, “Listen, if someone preaches any other
gospel, alright, accepts any other gospel than the only true
gospel, they are accursed.” And then to emphasize the point,
he says, “Listen, it doesn’t matter if I come to you and I
preach another gospel. If I come to you and I’ll say,
you know I’ve been thinkin’ about it and I’m wrong. Jesus is one way but he’s not
the only way. Christianity is not just, you
know, the faith, it’s just a faith. If I come to you and I preach
any other gospel, I’m accursed.” He said, “I don’t care if it’s
an angel from heaven. I don’t care if he glows
in the dark, has big wings, and his name is Gabriel, doesn’t
matter.” It is not the messenger that
validates the message. It is the message that validates
the messenger. ‘Cause here’s what I hear. “Well, you know, I believe what
he said because blank said it. If he said it, he pastors this
gigantic church. He’s got this big
following on television. He’s written all these
bestselling books. So, he must be right.” I will say it again. Don’t ever judge the message
by the messenger. You always judge the messenger
by the message. So, Paul says, “It really
doesn’t matter how brilliant a person is. It really doesn’t matter how
many degrees they have. It doesn’t matter what seminary
they attended. It doesn’t matter how polished,
how popular, how persuasive they are. It doesn’t matter whether they
pastor a big church or small church. It doesn’t matter if they’re
on TV or they don’t even own a TV.” He said, “If that person is not
preaching the true Gospel of Christ, they are
under the curse of God. And you should not listen
to them and they should not be believed.” And I love the way Paul wraps
up where he stands on the gospel ’cause this is where– this is
the bottom line of the bottom line. Listen to this, “Am I now trying
to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I was still trying to please
people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Now again, you don’t think this
is relevant? Tell relevant it is. There are certain pastors today,
and look, I’m not throwing rocks at them. I don’t have to answer for their
ministry. I just have to answer for mine. But there are certain pastors
today, who not only will say what I’m gonna tell you, they’re
proud to tell you what I’m gonna tell you. There are certain pastors today
that will tell ya, “I’m not gonna preach on certain topics. I’m not gonna touch that topic. And I’m not gonna touch that
topic. It’s too controversial. It’s too hot. It’s too divisive. It may cost people from my
church. It may lower my approval
ratings. It may not be good
for business.” Well, let me just be clear. When you preach the true gospel,
one, you don’t leave out anything. When you preach through true
gospel, the true gospel has moral ramifications. The true gospel has sexual
ramifications. The true gospel has ethical
ramifications. The true gospel make certain
demands and it calls for complete surrender. And Paul was absolutely obsessed
never to compromise the gospel because here’s what Paul said
at the end of the day. You can please people
or displease Jesus. Or you can please Jesus
and displease people. You can’t do both. And Paul said, “When I stand
before God I’m going to make sure I please Jesus.” And I’m not trying to sound
super spiritual when I say this. But the greatest preacher
since the Apostle Paul, Charles Spurgeon said this. He said, “The gospel is perfect
in all its parts and perfect as a whole. It is a crime to add to it,
treason to alter it, and a felony to take from it.” Because see we’re being told
today, I hear it all the time, “Well, I’ll be open to new
ideas. Maybe the church got it wrong
for 2000 years. We now know more than our
father’s did. Truths never settle.” What really is important today
is not the plain teaching of Scripture, it’s new
scholarship, the latest scholarship. Well, let me just say this. There are some things that just
never change. God never changes. Jesus never changes. Truth never changes. What’s right and wrong never
changes. The Word of God never changes. The gospel never changes. There’s no Gospel 2.0, there’s
only one gospel. So, I’m wrapping this up. I read recently something
that’ll kinda fascinate you, 91% of the world’s population has
heard of Coca Cola. I guarantee you you have either
heard of Coca Cola or you have been in a coma for 20 years. Okay, we’ve all heard of Coca
Cola here in this country, right? Now, this is the capital. Seventy-four percent have seen
Coca Cola. Fifty-one percent have tasted
Coca Cola. Ten percent of the world’s
population has heard the true gospel. Let that sink in. So, let me just wrap this up. This church that Paul was
talking to was full of changed lives. And you go back and read
the history of Christianity, and you’ll find
out for the first several years after Jesus’ resurrection
from the earliest Christians, they got a reputation. People began to see these people
and they begin to say, “Man, you’re just so different
from everybody else. You’re different from your
neighbors. You’re different from your
community. You’re different from your town. You’re different from the state. You’re just different from just
the whole world.” ‘Cause they noticed it. Where the world sought material
wealth, these Christians would sell their belongings to meet
the needs of somebody else. And where society would lock
criminals away and contagious people, that had deadly
diseases, they’d put them away and dark dirty dungeons
and they’d just totally ignore them. Christians would go visit them. They’d take them food
and clothing, and love on them and pray with them. And in a world, in a culture
where women were treated as second class citizens
and children were seen as even less important, these early
Christians talked about how important it was for a husband
to treat his wife the way she ought to be treated and how
a dad ought to have love and concern for his children. And how children ought to have
respect for their parents. And how marriage is a gift
from God. And these early people, these
people that– saying, “Man, wow, you’re so radically different. What is it that’s changed
about you? Why am I not like you? Why are you each marching
to the beat of a different drummer? What’s making you stand
out like the North Star on a dark night?” And then you read further
and you’ve realized there’s only one explanation for why these
people were so different. They had heard the true gospel. They had believed the true
gospel. They had responded to the true
gospel. They had preached the true
gospel. Because it is the only gospel
that turned the world upside down 2000 years ago, and it’s
the only one that can still do it today. And that’s why we send
and that’s why we want you to be sent. That’s why we want you to walk
out of this building every single Sunday when you come
in here, we want you to walk out with this Word burning
in your heart, “I am sent.” It’s why we tell you every week
who’s your one? Who’s the one person
over the next year that you know they need to hear the gospel,
they need to believe the gospel, they need to receive the gospel,
they need to be changed by the gospel. Why do we do that? Because there’s only one true
gospel. And it is the only gospel that
needs to be heard by every single person because every
single person needs the gospel. announcer: To watch an extended
version of today’s teaching message with Dr. James Merritt,
go to touchinglives.org ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ James: Hey, I’m so glad you
joined me today here on “Touching Lives” as we begin
this series on the book of Galatians. Paul’s main point for this book
is this because of Jesus you are free from rules, regulations,
rituals, yes, even religion. The key to living this life
of freedom is grace. For it’s by grace and faith that
God saves us. This week I want you to go
boldly into the world and live free in Christ. Thanks for tuning in today. Be sure to come back next week
for another episode of “Touching Lives.” announcer: “Touching Lives”
teaching people everywhere who Jesus is and why they need him. This program is sponsored
by Touching Lives Ministries and is made possible
by the grace of God and your faithful prayers and “gifts.” …

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1 Comment

  1. Such a wonderful message! Thank you Jesus for the true Gospel and thank you Pastor Merritt for sharing it with us in such a profound way!

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