Program Air Date - 1-26-03



Good morning and welcome to the Living Word program! Thank you for choosing to give this time to God, as we together strive to honor Him according to His will. As always, this morning it will be our privilege to sing hymns about God and to study from His magnificent Word. Now let's bow our heads before His throne in prayer!


I might take just a minute this morning and apologize to our regular viewers for the mess up last week. Many of you noticed that the same program from the previous week, actually was aired again by mistake. This was due to a mistake on the part of the station. However, we have it all sorted out and today and are back on schedule with our series on Galatians. But for now, it's time to join in with the brethren this morning, as we begin our songs of praise to God. Won't you do your part as we together sing, "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind!"

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I think we all would agree that we live in a wicked society today. Now, that is not to say that everything is wrong, but that most things are not according to what we read in the Bible. When will humanity ever learn that the only true and right way is God's way? Or when will we all wake up to realize that eternal life is only found in the ways of God!

When I think about the problems in the world today of evil and wickedness, my mind often goes back to another time in history when man became too wicked. A time when everyone did according to their own desire and they really didn't care about what God had to say. Can you remember the story of Noah? Now let me ask you, because of the wickedness of the time, what happened to the world? You and I know the answer, all life was destroyed by God. In fact, the text tells us that it grieved God that He had made man. He was sorry about the creations He had made, because of their wickedness.

Also consider how many people were spared during this great cleansing? We all know the answer, only 8 souls. Noah, his wife, their sons and their wives. They were the only ones who were considered righteous enough by God to be spared during this great destruction.

In another Old Testament story found in Genesis 19, we read about some cities which were again destroyed by God, due to great wickedness. We have all heard the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Think for a moment how many were spared in this destruction? Again we know the answer, only Lot and his two daughters were spared. The reason is always the same, "there were none righteous on the face of the earth!"

I mention these examples today to exhort us unto living as God wants us to. Why, think about the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:14, "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Consider our examples discussed this morning, in comparison just how few are going to find it in our day? The verse prior to this one in the same passage says, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it." The sad reality is, Christ said most are heading for destruction, and not by His choice, but their own!

So does it matter how we live, what we do, or what we say? The Lord said it does. Choose today to make sure that you are living among the righteous before God. Don't be found lacking, caught up in the wickedness of this world, finding that it is to late to correct what's wrong in your life. What is your answer to this question of our Lord, "...When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth," Luke 18:8.

This morning we are again happy to have Kevin Patterson with us. Brother Kevin is the minister for the Bolivar Church of Christ, in Bolivar, Missouri. He will be leading us in our discussion from God's Word today, as we continue our series entitled, "To the Churches of Galatia." Our specific lesson of the day is, "Chapter 1: There is but one Gospel." So please stay with us and after our next song together brother Patterson will return and lead us in our message of the morning. Now let's join in our second hymn of the day, as we glorify God our creator. The name of this song is "There's A Fountain Free."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Kevin Patterson

Good morning, and thank you for staying with us. Last week, we began our study of the book of Galatians with an overview of Paul's letter to these first century Christians. This wee, we are going to focus on chapter 1 of this book.

I want to start off this morning by establishing one point before we begin that study. When we examine God's Word, when we look at the Bible, it's important for us to recognize that this is God's Will as it has been revealed to us. It is necessary for us because it helps us to overcome sin and learn how to come back into a relationship with the Father. I want to express what 2 Timothy chapter 3, verse 16 teaches us. It teaches us that "all scripture is inspired by God, or all scripture is God-breathed." In other words, when we look at the Bible, it's important for us to realize that this is what God wants us to know and although He used men to record His Will to paper, it is important that we realize that as Peter wrote in 2 Peter chapter 1, verses 20 and 21, that "no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation for prophecy never came by the will of men but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." So when we enter into the book of Galatians, let us not look at it simply as a letter from Paul to a group of Christians in the 1st century, but let us remember that it is God's Will for them and it is God's Will for us.

If you take a look at Galatians chapter 1 and verse 1, the very first thing that you realize is that this letter is written by Paul the apostle. He identifies himself in that first verse. In the second verse, we realize who the recipients of this letter are. It reads, "And all the brethren who are with me to the churches of Galatia." Now let us remember that even though Paul is writing this letter as he is inspired by God, God addresses these instructions to the churches of Galatia, in other words, the churches who are in the region of Galatia. We know a little more about the fact that these are Christians because of what we read in verses 3, 4, and 5. In verse 3, you read, "Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil age according to the Will of our God and Father to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." In these opening comments, Paul establishes two points. If this letter is written to people who would call God their Father. You know a lot of people talk about how God is their Father, but in fact, as the Bible teaches us, God cannot be our Father unless we are His children. The only way that we can become His children is to obey His Will and to be added to the body of His son Jesus Christ. In this passage also, we see Jesus Christ referenced as the Lord. Once again, people call Jesus their Lord, but the word "Lord" means master and Jesus cannot be your master unless you first submit your life to Him and become His servant. Well this letter was written to a group of people who could call God their Father and who did indeed call Jesus Christ their Lord.

We are about to get into a section of scripture in verses 6, 7, 8, and 9 that talk about the gospel. Before we get there, I want to ask the question, "What is the gospel?" We talk about the gospels in reference to the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In fact, in Mark chapter 1 and verse 1, he talks about the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in other words , what he was about to record was this gospel about which we are now trying to figure out what that is.

In fact, in Mark 16, verse 15, Jesus taught His disciples that "they were to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all of creation."

Mark 16, verse 15 in another translation called the gospel the "good news." Perhaps that is a way that you've heard it referred to by others. But what is this good news? What is it that Mark recorded? What is it that we are to take into all of the world and preach to all of creation?

Well, I would take your attention to 1 Corinthians chapter 15 which probably defines for us the core message of what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. Paul writes in his letter to the church at Corinth, "Moreover brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preach to you, which also you receive and in which you stand, by which also you are saved if you hold fast that word which I preach to you unless you believe in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

One might say in general that the gospel is the message of Jesus Christ, the good news of Jesus Christ, but at its heart, at its heart very core is this message: the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without this death that was followed by a burial, without Jesus Christ overcoming death and rising then from the grave to prove that He was the son of God, the one perfect example that could help us in our attempts to overcome sin. Without this at the core of this message, then the gospel would be of little use to us today.

Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 13 tells us where we can receive this gospel, where we can obtain this message. Paul writes, "In Him, you also trusted after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation." If we want to know about the message of Jesus Christ, if we want to understand His death, burial and His resurrection and how it affects us and applies to our lives, then we have to turn to the Word of truth and that is God's Word, the Bible.

2 Thessalonians chapter 1, verses 6-9 also teaches us that "the gospel is not only a message that we are to preach to all of creation, but that we ourselves must obey." Paul writes, "Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."

So we know that the gospel is the good news of Jesus. We know that at its very heart it is the gospel message of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. We know that we are to proclaim this gospel, to be true to its teachings as we find it in God's Word and we ourselves are to obey it if we truly wish to have a home in heaven with God above. How do we obey that gospel? Well in a way, we mirror what Jesus did for us. Although Jesus was alive and set a perfect example, He was willing to die on a cross for us. Now the question is, we live but we live in sin. We make choices that cause us to alienated from God. The question is, "Are we willing to give our lives for Him? Are we willing to give our lives for Christ and put to death the man of sin?" How do we do this? The Bible teaches us that we are buried with Him in baptism. Romans chapter 6, verses 3-4, "So that in the same way that Jesus overcame death and rose from the grave, we too, can overcome sin by rising from the waters of baptism and walking in newness of life." Now that in brief is the gospel message.

Now I want you to focus back in Galatians chapter 1, verses 6-7 and I want you to hear what Paul tells these 1st century Christians about what they had done to this gospel. He writes, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you into the grace of Christ to a different gospel which is not another, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ." He actually uses the word "marvel." In other words, he was amazed that they were so quickly deserting that which was so important to them, that which in its purity had saved them from their sins, had brought them from a world of sin into a world of being saved. They had as the word "church" means the called out of the world into the world of Christ. He says that when something so remarkable is this, something that is so eternal in its consequence. He says, "I marvel that you are so quickly turning away from it. I'm amazed at that." He says, "You've turned away to a different gospel." In fact, he says, "It's not even really the gospel at all because you have perverted it."

When we talk about something being what it is because of its purity, when we introduce pollutants to it, it ceases to become just that. If you take a glass of water for instance and you pour a little bit of milk into it, you will see immediately that it becomes something else. It becomes kind of a cloudy, watery substance that neither you nor I would want to drink. We don't mind drinking a glass of water because it is pure. We don't mind drinking a glass of milk because its pure. But when you mix the two together it is probably not something that either of us would want as a part of our liquid nourishment. The gospel of Christ is similar in that way. It is a pure message and when we add things to it or when we take things away from it, we defile it. We make it an impure gospel, which Paul writes is really no gospel at all.

If we continue on in verses 8-9, Paul writes this comment. He says, "Even if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you other than that which we have preached, let him be accursed. As we have said before so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received let him be accursed." That was Paul's emphasis on the purity of this message and on the emphasis on those Christians then and us today that we leave God's Word as it is and that we accept God's Word as it is and that we obey God's Word as it is. Nothing more. Nothing less. Because it is that pure message that can save us from our sins.

One of the problems that the church in the 1st century had especially in this region was that they were attempting to mix and match the Old Testament with the New Testament. The Old Testament or the Old Covenant, as some might say, was something that was done away at the cross. It doesn't mean that we can't learn from the Old Testament or benefit from it. In fact, the New Testament says just that that we can benefit from the Old Testament scriptures. Romans chapter 15 and verse 4 tells us that "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning." 1 Corinthians chapter 10 and verse 11 teaches us that "all these things happened as examples and they were written for our admonition." In Hebrews chapter 8 and verse 13 it teaches us that "this new covenant that comes with Jesus Christ, this New Testament Christianity that we attempt to follow, has made the old covenant obsolete." Colossians chapter 2 and verses 11-14 teaches us that "these commandments, this old law, was nailed to the cross." So when Jesus died on the cross, the Old Testament ceased to be in effect. It ceased to be the binding law over us, and the New Testament went into effect. Romans chapter 7 and verse 6 teaches us that we have been delivered from the law having died to what we were held by so that we should serve in the newness of the spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." Paul, in Galatians chapter 1 and verse 10, asks this question, "Do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I still please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ." That's a question that people ask today or should if they were truly focusing on what God would have them to do. Am I doing what I'm doing to please men or am I doing what I'm doing to put God first and please Him in all that I think, say and do? Hopefully, that is an easy question for us to answer. Hopefully, we are attempting to put our Lord Jesus Christ first by following our Father and His Will for us in all that the Bible would teach us.

In Galatians chapter 1, verses 11-24, Paul continues to talk about how the gospel affected him. He talks about his conversion. He talks about how he was once a persecutor of the church, but how this pure message of Christianity, the message of Jesus Christ changed his life and how he became an effective force for conversion to Christianity in the 1st century.

At the very end of our text, he talks about those people who recognized him as the former persecutor of the church. In verse 23, he says, "For they were hearing only he who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy." Verse 24 concludes with saying, "And they glorified God in me."

The gospel is a message today that can make a difference in our lives. No matter what we have done in the past, no matter what we are doing presently. The story of Jesus Christ and the fact that He died, was buried and rose again so that we might have the forgiveness of sins is the message that can change our lives today. Although Paul was a great man, in 1 Timothy chapter 1 and verse 15, he had not forgotten what he had done and as such he called himself "a chief among sinners." But in Romans chapter 1 and verse 16, even though he had done great things that were against the church, he says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes to the Jew first and also to the Greek." That same gospel message can be as meaningful to you today.

SONG # 3 - "For the Beauty of the Earth!")


Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, as we gave this time to God. It is always a blessing to have you with us. We invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to doing the things of God in His Way!

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Thanks be to God that He has provided His complete Truth in the Gospel through His Word. Furthermore, how wonderful it is to be able to know it, and that it will make us free through Jesus Christ.

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