Listened to a really great talk tonight. This talk is particularly good if you are not sure that God loves you or you worry that you need to win the approval of God or others.
A letter birthed in trouble and controversy.
Some may think how wonderful the early church was and it was good. But this letter shows that things weren't all totally good.
Each of Paul's letter in the same way apart from this one.
V1-5 the greeting
Galatians 1:1-5 (NIV)Paul, an apostle---sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead---  and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,  to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
V6 - the telling off - a very cross and disappointed tone.
Galatians 1:6 (NIV)I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel---
Paul had setup the church and others had come along and said "you don't want to do it that way but this way"
Paul was cross because they were rejecting the good news of Jesus.
At first glance this would have felt like it could have been ok but what was being said was worthless and dangerous.
The Good News from Paul was a treasure.
Galatians 1:3-5 (NIV)Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,  to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
This was what the Galatians was throwing away.
This was a crime and Paul said they should be cursed by God.
Galatians 1:8 (NIV)But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
Why did they turn to a different Gospel so quickly?
Galatians 1:6-7 (NIV)I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel---  which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
- Human nature
We sometimes get carried away by the new style of worship, the new teaching, the new ....
- They didn't trust Paul
Galatians 1:11-24 (NIV)I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.  I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.  For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.  I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.  But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased  to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man,  nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.
Paul has good credentials and although this was cast doubt upon.
 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days.  I saw none of the other apostles---only James, the Lord's brother.  I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.  Later I went to Syria and Cilicia.  I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.  They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."  And they praised God because of me.
Was what Paul saying 'too good to be true'?
We say "Jesus really loves me as I am and really forgives my sins?"
We doubt this and think that it is too good to be true.
We sometimes think that it must be harder work, there must be something that I actually should be doing.
The heart of the Gospel is Grace.
Galatians 1:3 (NIV)
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
Galatians 1:4 (NIV)
who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
This is the great truth that Paul is getting so worked up about.
It is Jesus who made us acceptable to God and if you hear anything else it is not Good News. It is a false hood.
It is God who saved us and calls us.
He made us His own.
It is what God has done for me and not what I can do for God.
Nothing we can do can out us right with God. it is pure Grace.
If we worry that we are not doing enough - it is grace from Jesus what counts.
As well as having his credentials undermined he was said to be trying to win people's approval.
Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
The accusation was that he was trying to win the approval of the Galatians by watering down the Jewish rules (of circumcision).
We can't please everyone. If we try to please everyone we will fail.
Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? ......
We still remain very focused on winning the approval of people. If we don't follow that we may be tempted to just to win the approval of ourselves and will end up hurting and rejecting others.
The only approval that should count is God's.
We are not trying to win our way into His love. We should seek to do His will because of His love.
Who are we trying to win approval from?
- parents and children
- work from a thank you or a bonus
- in church (was that good enough?)
Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
........ If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
We can only serve God when we give up the need for approval. We can only serve one master.
1 John 3:1 (NIV)
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ........
It takes courage for Paul to send this letter. What sustained Paul and can sustain us is that we do it because of His love.
God has given us all the grace we need.