Saturday, September 28, 2013

130929 Twisting the Gospel

Galatians 1:6-10, I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul was astonished that the Galatians seemed to be turning away from the simple gospel he had preached to them. Twice in the book of Romans, and once in his second letter to Timothy, Paul uses the words “my gospel”. He wasn’t talking about a book such as Matthew, Mark, Luke & John had written about the life of Jesus. He was talking about the good news that he had given to them about the consequences of faith in the life of a believer. We have a very clear picture of the gospel that Paul preached in this letter along with the others he wrote. The Galatian people were deserting Paul and following after men who twisted the gospel to their own advantage. It has been nearly 2000 years since Paul wrote these words and the problem still persists.
Paul’s gospel, as presented in his letters, show a clear picture of how a person may come to know Christ. First, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death. Second, God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners (and subject to death and hell) Christ died for us. And as a result of Christ’s death, if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. We are saved by God’s grace through faith which is a gift of God. Men came to Galatia with…
A twisted gospel. This “gospel” is not based on grace through faith instead it is…
Demanding some “work”. After Paul’s first missionary journey he and Barnabas reported to the church in Antioch the wonderful things that God was doing among the Gentiles. After that report they were confronted by some men who opposed them. Luke writes about it in Acts 15:1, But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
These men, called Judaizers, followed Paul all the days of his ministry trying to draw aside those who had come to the grace of God through faith. They truly believed that a Gentile must first be a Jewish convert before one could become a Christian. What the Judaizers could not accept was that a person would be able to be accepted by God without becoming a Jew first.
Today we do not have that problem. We do have other problems with those who would add works to the simple gospel of grace through faith. Baptism, like circumcision, is a part of a person’s identification with faith. Some Christians teach that a person must be baptized in order to be saved. This is one of the ways of…
Rejecting grace through faith. At the Jerusalem Council Peter pointed out the answer to the problem that the Judaizers had. Let’s look at part of what he said. Acts 15:11, But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
Keeping the law never brought a person to salvation. The law was given as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, we will see more about this later on in our study of Galatians. Those who tried to impose “law keeping”, or salvation by works, were placing a burden on the Gentiles that the Jewish nation had been unable to keep. Peter had seen Gentiles accepted by God at the house of Cornelius. The reason he knew they were accepted by God is that they received the Holy Spirit the same way the Jews had on the day of Pentecost. They came the same way Abraham had. They believed God and it was counted to them as righteousness.
In a real sense these Judaizers were…
Following the way of the world. Their world at least! They could not understand that they were really calling the Galatian Christians to go back to their pagan roots. Listen while I read, Galatians 4:8-10, Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years!
Obviously the Judaizers were asking for more than just circumcision. They were asking for full submission to the law the Jews had failed to keep themselves. Paul could see that what they were really doing was turning back to spiritual slavery. In his letter to the Romans, Paul goes into great detail teaching that the law never was intended to bring a person to salvation. We will be able to touch on some of this as we go further into the book of Galatians. Now we come to a very difficult concept for some people and that is that…
Rejecting the gospel brings God’s curse. It doesn’t matter where the rejection of the gospel comes from, even if it comes from within the church. Rejecting the gospel always ends in destruction.
No matter the source.
Even if Paul himself or an angel from heaven brought another gospel they should be accursed! The real source of opposition to the gospel is no less than Satan himself. Look at what Paul wrote to the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 11:12-15, And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
The Corinthian letters were written several years after the Galatian letter. We can see from this passage how the problem Paul was confronting continued. Throughout his ministry Paul was confronted by false apostles who were trying to lead the church away from the truth. He saw them for who they really are — servants of Satan! After all, Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
Satan has many servants who openly oppose the gospel and even the idea of God. Many of these work outside the church and make no pretense of being righteous. The problem confronted in Galatia, and in churches throughout the world today, are those who disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. The enemies of the gospel are…
Even inside the church. Peter understood the problem as well as Paul did and wrote about it in, 2 Peter 2:1-3, But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
Peter compares false teachers in the church to the false prophets in Old Testament days. These teachers will bring in destructive false teaching. They will even deny the Lord himself! Throughout the history of the church we witness the rise and fall of cult groups. Usually they are centered around a false teacher.
Among modern day cults are the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many different groups that call themselves “Christian” but practice salvation by works rather than by grace through faith.
Their end is destruction. Toward the end of his ministry Paul wrote a letter to the church at Philippi. In it he talked about those who turned away from the faith and became enemies of the gospel. Listen while I read from that letter. Philippians 3:18-19, For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
Paul is writing from Rome where he is being held prisoner for the gospel’s sake. These false teachers were self-centered people who wanted to profit somehow from the church. “Their god is their belly” seems to imply that they were leading people astray to take advantage of them. Their minds were set on earthly things.
Paul’s heart was broken over the way these people had slipped into the church and led it astray. Before his imprisonment he met with the Ephesian elders to tell them that he would be taken prisoner. During that meeting, recorded in Acts chapter 20, he warned them that after he departed “fierce wolves” would come into the church and they would not spare the flock. He also warned them that men would arise from within their group twisting the truth in order to lead people away. The elders were to keep a close watch on the flock and protect them from the wolves.
This is just as true today as it was then. If Satan can be an angel of light his followers can appear to be righteous people and need to be carefully examined or they will be allowed into roles of leadership.
My prayer for this church is that there will be spiritual, and biblical, sound leadership in the years ahead to prevent it from being taken over by a false teacher after I’m gone.
We must remember…
There is only one true gospel. And…
It does not require our work. Look at what Paul wrote in Titus 3:4-7, But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
When Jesus came into the world he said he came to seek and to save that which is lost. He didn’t come down to find good people who could earn their way into heaven. Christ died for the ungodly, the unrighteous, the unworthy and the unable to save themselves. There is no human activity that can cause a person to be acceptable to God. Salvation comes only because of the mercy of God.
If it were possible for a person to save themselves by good works then God was unjust in allowing Jesus to go through the torment of a trial, crucifixion and death. When Jesus prayed to the Father asking if it was possible that the cup should pass from him, the Father would have sent in the angels in a heartbeat if there was any other way for mankind to be saved. No, the real gospel does not depend on our work…
It is based on the finished work of Jesus. Listen while I read Hebrews 9:11-12, But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
From the time of the first sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden until Jesus’ death on the cross all sin was covered by the blood of animals. Adam and Eve sinned and the result was the death of animals to provide clothing for them. After that whenever a person sinned an altar of stone was erected and an innocent animal was brought to the altar and its blood was shed. It was sacrificed as a substitute for the person.
When God called his people out of Egypt to form the covenant nation Israel he took them into the wilderness and taught them how to worship him. That worship centered around a tabernacle, or tent, that was modeled after the heavenly Temple. Every time an animal was sacrificed it was pointing forward to, as John the Baptist put it, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. That Lamb of God was, and is, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Jesus did not enter into the temple on earth he entered into the heavenly Temple. He didn’t go before the altar in heaven with the blood of an animal he went before the heavenly altar with his own blood! This effectively ended the sacrificial system in Jerusalem. Where those sacrifices had been offered daily and did not actually cover the sins of mankind Jesus, through one sacrifice, once for all made atonement for our sins.
The hymn writer, Philip P. Bliss put it this way:
Free from the law, O happy condition, Jesus hath bled, and there is remission;
cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, grace hath redeemed us once for all.
Once for all, O sinner, receive it; once for all, O brother, believe it; cling to the cross, the burden will fall, Christ hath redeemed us once for all.
Now we are free there’s no condemnation, Jesus provides a perfect salvation;
“Come unto Me,” O hear his sweet call, come, and he saves us once for all.
Ever since the church came into existence there have been those who would twist the gospel demanding works of righteousness. They rejected grace through faith and instead substituted the world’s way of self-righteousness.
No matter where rejection of the gospel comes from, even from inside the church, the result is destruction. There is only one gospel and…
It is to be proclaimed to all the world. Listen to the last instructions Jesus gave to his disciples before he ascended into heaven. Matthew 28:18-20, And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Throughout the history of the church this is been called “The Great Commission”. Usually, when it is quoted, the quote begins with verse nineteen. “Go therefore,” tells us to look back at what is just before it. When reading the Bible, anytime you see the word “therefore” you need to ask, “What is therefore there for?”. In this case, “therefore” looks back to, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus has been given all authority and operating in that authority we are able to make disciples whenever, and wherever, we go.
The gospel, the good news about Jesus, needs to be spoken to every person on earth. Jesus gave his life on the cross in order that those whom the Father gave to him could be saved. Since we don’t know who the Father has given to Jesus we need to be always prepared to tell anyone who asks what the reason is for the hope that we have and we should always do it with gentleness and respect.  We need to be tuned to the Spirit of God as much as possible all the time. That way we will detect when people are asking why we have hope and not just passing the time of day. We need to reflect Jesus like the moon reflects the sun. The people we meet and interact with should wonder why we are, how we are and who we are.
The world we live in is filled with false teachers so much so that we consider it to be normal and don’t bother to oppose them. In fact, in our live and let live world, it is not considered respectful to tell someone that they are wrong. And it would be shocking to say that such a false teacher is cursed by God. However that’s what the Bible says and we have no choice but to follow the Bible. Paul had such compassion for his Galatian brothers and sisters that he was willing to risk rejection by them in telling them the truth. We have a responsibility to encourage the truth and discourage the lies that surround us. But remember, we are to speak the truth in love not in anger or argument. Have you turned your life over to Christ accepting him as Lord and Savior? If you have don’t be led astray by the false apostles.
 All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Friday, September 20, 2013

130922 Paul, an Apostle of Christ

Galatians 1:1-5, Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul’s letter to the Galatians is one of the first that he wrote. He wrote this letter out of a deep concern that the Galatians were turning away from the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul had traveled through Galatia more than once on his missionary journeys. On his last trip to the region he came to strengthen the disciples. This letter was probably written before that trip perhaps to prepare the Galatians for his visit. Paul wants everyone to understand that he was not called by man but instead he was called through Jesus Christ and God the Father.
Paul was a chosen instrument.
Originally, Saul of Tarsus. Paul had come to Jerusalem hoping to heal the breach between Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians. He had entered the temple courtyard when he was confronted by a mob. Before they could take his life he was rescued by the Romans and he then asked permission to speak to the crowd. Let’s look at that speech as recorded by Luke. Paul began in Acts 22:3, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day.
Being born in Tarsus was an important part of Paul’s pedigree. He was not only a Jew he was also a Roman citizen. Up until this point in his life he appears not to have taken advantage of his citizenship. From this time forward Paul’s citizenship protected him from his enemies up until the time that he was executed in Rome. In order to pacify the crowd Paul pointed out that he also had been zealous for the law just as the crowd around them was that day. He was a Roman citizen born in Tarsus and he had been…
An enemy of the gospel. Listen to his testimony. Acts 22:4-5, I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
As he was traveling along that road to Damascus suddenly a great light shined on him. It was so bright that he went blind. He heard a voice speaking out of the light. He soon came to know that the light was Jesus Christ. He obeyed the heavenly vision and went into the city of Damascus waiting for direction. A Christian disciple named Ananias came to him and Paul was healed and baptized. He returned to Jerusalem and while he was praying in the temple Jesus told him to get out of the city because the people there would not listen to him. We find Paul’s response in verses 19-20, And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’
Jesus repeated his command for Paul to leave the city. Since he had stopped being an enemy of the gospel he was a great threat to those who were still opposed. In fact Paul had been…
Converted by Jesus. Let’s look at Luke’s account in Acts 9:1-6, But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
The opponents of Paul who had come to Galatia claimed to have a better pedigree then Paul did. Some of them, undoubtedly, had been around when Jesus actually ministered on earth. They believed that they had seniority over someone who had come to the faith lately.
It was important to Paul that the people of Galatia understand that he himself was converted by Jesus and not by some man. Later he would carry this argument further forward. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, addressed this letter…
To the churches of Galatia. We do not know exactly where these churches were located. The district of Galatia is in the middle of what is the modern country of Turkey. It had been settled by Gauls a couple of hundred years before. These people were from the same race that settled central Europe and parts of the British Isles. Paul had been eager to preach the gospel among them but they…
Were denied the gospel at first.
Paul and Barnabas may possibly have gone to Galatia on their first missionary journey but there’s no clear record of it. Instead, he and Silas passed through on their way to Troas and from there into Europe. It may seem strange that the Holy Spirit barred them from preaching in Galatia, or anywhere! Look at Luke’s account in Acts 16:6,
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
Wherever Paul went his first goal was to preach the gospel. He was especially eager to preach where no one had ever preached before. So he went on his way under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
We need to remember that there is a time for everything. Only God knows the right time. We simply do the best we can day by day to obey him. As far as witnessing is concerned, unless we’re clearly told otherwise, “now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Perhaps if Paul had stayed in Galatia when he first traveled through there he would’ve missed a prayer meeting by the river in Philippi and those hearts that were ready to receive the gospel would have missed out. I don’t know. But I do know they were prevented from stopping and preaching in Galatia until after they had gone to Macedonia where they led the group of women and a jailer, among others, to faith in Christ. The first opportunity for Paul to preach was missed because the Holy Spirit ordered them not to.
I can imagine Paul walking through those villages looking for someone who might know Christ. After all, on the day of Pentecost, there were Jews in Jerusalem who heard the gospel from the regions around Galatia. And as he walked I can imagine that he was considering how best to present the gospel when he had the opportunity. That seemed to be the focus of Paul’s life. Becoming all things to all men that by all means he might win some. So…
Later Paul returned. After ministering in Philippi for some time Paul and Silas traveled through the countryside on their way to the great cosmopolitan cities of Athens and Corinth. He stayed a short time in Athens but in Corinth he stayed for some eighteen months.
Afterward they took a ship back to Palestine. Let’s return to Luke’s account. Acts 18:22-23, When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. 23 After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
This is the second time that Galatia is mentioned in the Book of Acts. The first being when they passed through on their way to Troas. So much is left out of the account that we can’t properly fill in the details. We have no record of what the church was like in Caesarea except that Paul went there on his return. From there he went to his sending church in Antioch located in what is now Syria. Afterward Paul traveled back into the regions that are now modern-day Turkey. And on that journey he came back to Galatia. When he arrived he had some kind of illness. We’re not told what it was. We can only draw some conclusions from what Paul said to the Galatians. He said that his visit was…
Due to illness. Look at his account in Galatians 4:13-14, You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.
There was something about his illness that he referred to as a “trial” to the Galatians. I assume that means that his illness was unattractive or repugnant to look at. He went on to say that they would have taken out their own eyes for him if they could. Now that may have been, of course, just a saying. But eye ailments were very common in the dusty environments of the Roman world. We have another clue towards the end of the book of Galatians when Paul wrote, “See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.” That certainly implies that he had some problem with his eyesight.
Paul, the Apostle, wrote to the churches in Galatia in order to point them to Jesus Christ who came…
To deliver us from the present evil age. Paul used a common greeting, “Grace and peace” and he wanted them to understand that…
Grace and peace are from God. Let’s look at his letter to the Ephesian church and read about grace. Ephesians 2:8-10, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The grace of God is the only reason for our salvation. We are not saved because we are good nor are we saved because of some good work we did. Even faith is a gift of God. So when Paul used the greeting, “grace to you”, it meant a whole lot more than “Hello, how are you? ” “Grace” meant salvation to people who had no other hope. Someone, many years ago, made the word grace into an acrostic. God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Elvina Hall, wrote a poem about God’s grace about a hundred and fifty years ago. It goes like this:
I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small,
     child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all.”

Lord, now indeed I find Thy pow’r and Thine alone
     can change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
For nothing good have I whereby Thy grace to claim;
     I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calvary’s Lamb.
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
And when before the throne I stand in Him complete,
     “Jesus died my soul to save,” my lips shall still repeat.
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
Paul addressed the Galatians with “grace and peace”. Peace is a gift from God that comes from a root word meaning, “to bind up that which is broken”.  Many things in our lives are broken, or have been before the peace of God came into our lives. Peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Paul wrote the Philippian church, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7).
God’s grace leads to our peace and it is a peace that passes all understanding. The greatest disturber of our peace should be concern about whether or not our sins have been atoned for and we have a home in heaven. In order to give us this peace…
Jesus gave himself for our sins. Listen while I read 1 Peter 2:24, He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Jesus voluntarily took our sins into his own body and became a sacrifice for us. He did this so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, we are told, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” During his last days on earth Jesus said that he would lay down his life himself and when it was time he would take it up again. Jesus’ life was not taken from him it was given by him…
To deliver his people. Listen while I read what Jesus himself had to say. John 10:27-30, “… My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Notice that Jesus refers to “My sheep” these are the ones the Father has given to him out of the world. Luke reports the words of Jesus, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” John remembers that Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” The thief is the ruler of this world — the prince of the power of the air. Jesus came to deliver his people from this present evil age. In the two thousand years since these words were written the age has not improved at all. The culture we live in is just as evil as the culture Paul lived in.
We should gain great confidence from the fact that Jesus was willing to give his life for our sins so that we could be delivered. That deliverance does not come with our death, or the return of Jesus. That deliverance comes in the here and now. We won’t need it in heaven!
All of this was…
According to the will of God. Isaiah, like Abraham, saw Jesus’ day and was glad. The prophets may not have fully understood what, in hindsight, seems clear to us. But there’s no doubt in my mind that Isaiah saw Jesus and wrote about him. Listen while I read Isaiah 53:4-6, Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Seven hundred years before Jesus was born Isaiah saw Jesus bearing our griefs and carrying our sorrows. He saw that this Suffering Servant was stricken by mankind’s choice and smitten by God. He could even see that this one who bore our griefs was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. Isaiah could see that the chastisement of the Messiah was necessary to bring us peace and spiritual healing.
Jesus himself spoke of the will of the Father. One of those times we find in…
John 6:38-40, For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Jesus came down from heaven to do the will of the Father. There is a strong emphasis on this fact when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane. There he prayed to the Father to let this cup pass from him. Then he added, “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Surely the prayers of Jesus would always be answered positively. That probably is the reason he had to add “not as I will” because if he had not the Father would have intervened on his behalf.
When the crowd came to arrest him Peter drew his sword and began to fight. Jesus stopped him. Then he asked, Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”
It was according to the will of the Father that Jesus gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age. To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Saul of Tarsus, an enemy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, was chosen by God to spread the gospel across the Roman Empire. He was such an enemy of Jesus that he stood and held the coats of those who killed Stephen. Then he took charge of the persecution of the church until Christ confronted him on the Damascus road. He went to Galatia with the desire to preach the gospel there but was moved on to bring the gospel to Europe. Later he stopped in Galatia due to an illness and while he was there he brought the love of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ to those whom God had chosen. Now he greets the church pronouncing “grace and peace” as part of the deliverance of God’s people. If you are here today and you do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior I urge you to submit today to his grace through faith.

All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.