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James Merritt - There is Only One

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    James Merritt - There is Only One

Well I wanna thank you for being here. I'm excited about what we're about to start. For those who are watching online, by computer, by television, at our Mill Creek campus, those who are here, and it's gonna be a great, great time. I hope you did get a copy of one of these books. If you didn't make sure you get one on the way out. I'll tell you how we're gonna use that in just a moment, but there is a website, I kind search the internet sometime, and there is a website called It's fascinating. You can go on there and just vote, and just rank different things. And so they had this vote going on, about who was the most influential person in history. So I went and I cast my vote.

Now, the good news is 60% of the people agreed with me that Jesus Christ is the most influential person who's ever lived. I was disappointed 'cause I think he shoulda got a 100%, but that's me. But then I thought about this. I thought, okay, who would be number two? Who do you think we would choose? And I know who I would choose and I doubt very few people would join me in this one. I dare say maybe less than one or two percent. But I think that Paul is the second most influential person who ever lived, and you may say, well why? Well some scholars have even called Paul the second founder of Christianity. 'Cause what they mean is is that Christianity is more than just the teachings of Jesus. It's really about the Jesus who taught. And more than any other person who's ever lived is was Paul that shifted the focus of Christianity away from the proclamations of Jesus to proclamation about Jesus.

So this man wrote 13 of the 27 books of "The New Testament". The most unlikely man in the history of the world to become the most preeminent theologian of the early church, the greatest missionary the world's ever seen, single-handedly transformed Christianity from being more of a Jewish faith, to a faith that included both Jews and Gentiles, and he is the one that really opened the door of Christianity to everybody, every time, everywhere. You go to the four Gospels, and they tell us about the Jesus that we follow. But then Paul, in his books, tell us about what it means to follow Jesus. Jesus said, the number one goal of the church, the number one goal of individual believers like us, is to make disciples, but then Paul comes along and carefully explains both theologically and practically what does it even mean to be a disciple. Because you can't make a disciple til you are one and you can't be one til you know what it means to be one.

So that's why Paul wrote these books. So we're calling the next 12 months in our church, The Year of Disciple. Our mission statement, as already been stated, is to point people to Jesus, that's evangelism, that's bringing your one, who's your one, and inspire them to live the cross-shaped life. That is discipleship. Now, if you are an unbeliever I would think that you would at least want to know who this Jesus is, who this Jesus is that we follow. And if you're a believer I would think you would wanna know, well if I'm going to follow Jesus, I at least wanna know what it means. I mean how do I know I'm really following Jesus? Because I believe there's a great need that both believers and unbelievers know what following Jesus looked like. Because it's not what many believers think it looks like. And unfortunately it's not what a lot of believers say it looks like.

So, the books that Paul wrote that we're gonna be studying over the next 12 months are letters that Paul wrote to real people just like you, in a real place just like this, in a real time just like we live in right now. And there are four books we're gonna kinda spend our time in over the next 12 months: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, because they really lay out what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus. Now, we're not gonna go through every verse. We're gonna go through certain parts and certain sections. But I'll tell you something interesting about the book of Galatians you probably don't know. This is the first book Paul ever wrote. This is the first letter that Paul ever sent out. And it really, really shouldn't surprise us when we find out what it is all about. Because we're going to theme every one of these books by the way and so here's the theme of the book of Galatians.

The theme of the book of Galatians is free at last! You could write that over the top of the first chapter. Free at last, that's what Paul is going to harp on and that's why I don't think it's coincidental this is the first chapter. Because when Paul met Jesus all of a sudden he realized something he never dreamed was true. Paul had been living in bondage all of his life. Paul had been a slave all of his life. I don't mean politically. I don't mean socially. I mean spiritually. And when he meets Jesus all of sudden Jesus frees him from sin, from the fear of death, and most importantly, from trying to be good enough for God. And so Paul experiences incredible freedom, and there's no other book in the "Bible" by the way that explains why Christianity is completely, uniquely, and absolutely different from every other religious faith in the world, than this book. Somebody said it is the Emancipation Proclamation of the "Bible", this book of Galatians.

So, let me go ahead and tell you what the whole major thesis of this book is, okay? Here it is, it's real simple. Because of Jesus, you are free from rules, regulations, rituals, and even religion. None of those things, or all of those things put together have anything to do whatsoever with establishing a relationship with God. And what Paul is gonna hammer all through this book is the one thing you got to know, you've got to hear, you've got to understand, and you've go to receive to be right with God is what Paul is going to refer to as the gospel. It is the only message that defines Christianity. It is the only message that distinguishes Christianity. But it's also the only message that makes Christianity the only true faith worth believing, and the only true faith worth living.

Now let me just stop and get something out of the way right now. I understand that as I begin to preach what Paul's gonna tell me to preach today, and what Paul wrote, that when you stand up in any context today in the 21st Century and you say, there's only one. Automatically you're gonna be called bigoted. You're gonna be called intolerant. You're gonna be called narrow-minded. And so let me just be clear at the outset what I'm talking about to make sure nobody misunderstands. What we're gonna be talking about, what Paul is talking about is not the Baptist gospel. It is not the Methodist gospel. It's not the Catholic gospel. It's not the Presbyterian gospel. It's not the Lutheran gospel. It's not the Episcopalian gospel. It's not the Conservative gospel. It's not the Liberal gospel. It's not the Republican gospel. It's not the Democrat gospel. It is the God gospel.

And in case you think that you know, and one of the worst things you can be called today is intolerant. That's kinda like the scarlet letter. Boy, you're called intolerant, you're called narrow-minded. I mean you feel like you oughta curl up in the fetal position. And I'm gonna be honest, I've thought about it quite a bit and it hit me one day, sometimes being intolerant can be a very good thing. Being narrow-minded can really be a very good thing. I'll give you an example. I want my banker to be very narrow-minded. I don't want a banker that says two plus two may equal four, it may equal six, it may equal three. I don't want a banker like that. I wanna know two plus two equals four. I want my doctor to be narrow-minded.

When I don't feel well and I go to my doctor and I say, "doctor I think something's wrong with me". I don't wanna go to my doctor and say, "well doc, what do you think is wrong with me"? And I don't want that doctor to say well, let's not be narrow-minded about it. Why don't you just pick a disease and I'll give you some medicine for that. Or I'll tell you what, just pick out an organ and I'll take it out tomorrow, you choose. Let's not be narrow-minded. I want my pharmacist to be narrow-minded. I don't want to go to pick up my prescription, and I don't want him to look at me and say, you know I'm just not narrow-minded like your doctor is. Pick out a bottle. Which one would you like to take? What medicine are you in the mood for today? I want him to be very narrow-minded. Well, a true Christian, if you're truly a follower of Jesus, you're going to be narrow-minded about God. You're gonna be narrow-minded about Jesus. And you're gonna be narrow-minded about the gospel.

So Paul jumps in right away and he's addressing a problem these Galatians have that's going on, and he says to them there's only one true gospel. So if you have this little book, just turn to page two, and you can look on with us, the verses are right there, and if you wanna take notes, you gotta a place you can take notes. And here's what Paul says. And by the way, let me just say one other thing before we get started. I'm gonna say this one more time, but I wanna just kinda get this out. Let me tell you why this is really relevant to all of us, whether you're a believer or unbeliever. You may say golly, you mean we're gonna be in this book for a while, well we got about six or seven messages. It's not gonna be all that long. Let me tell you why. I am amazed, and I'm gonna say this again. I amazed at a pastor at 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 you guys doing? I've been missing you a lot. I'm sorry about not being able to come by and see you. I wanted to check in and see how things were going. So it's all these kind of warm and 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 Six, 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've 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 happening in the home 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. You don't have to remember it. 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 still gotta be a part of the Jewish religion. You still got to obey the law. You still gotta keep all these rules and all these regulation, by the way, that we 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 are spiritual deserters. You are spiritual turncoats. You have turned your back on the very truth that I taught. 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.

Let me just make this real simple. There's a little three-letter-word. And 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 wanna be right with God? You must accept Jesus and be baptized. They just deserted the gospel. You wanna be right with God? You've got to accept Jesus and be a part of our church. You've go to accept Jesus and you've got to through our rituals. You gotta accept Jesus and you've got to be confirmed. You gotta accept Jesus and you've 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 grace of God, here's what you just said: the grace of God's not enough. That 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 you 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 have they turned from the gospel, and from grace, they have turned from the God of grace that gave them the gospel, 'cause there's only one gospel, and that's the gospel of grace. So if you turn your back on the grace of God you just turned your back on the God of grace. So Paul is kinda taking the Galatians to the woodshed a little bit. But then he turns from the Galatians, who are 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. That word pervert is really interesting. It's a word that means pervert, it means to reverse. You may be familiar with this term so this will make sense. What 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 in the gospel that are out there that we listen to all the time, that we hear quite a bit. I'm just gonna share four of them with you, just real quickly.

There's first of all what I call the affluent gospel. We've heard that before. That's the gospel that says God want everybody to be rich. God want everybody to have their Mercedes. God wants everybody to live in a 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. Now I'm not gonna harp on that. I'm just gonna 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 there 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 stops 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 die 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 you how much God loves us. He loves us so much he's gonna change the way we are. He's not gonna 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 wanna 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 things we oughta 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 Niebuhr, he was talking about this kind of gospel. Here's what he called it. He said this is 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. And 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's just as good as my religion. We all are trying to get to the same place. We all really believe in the same God. We're just 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 could put any religious message in the world up against this gospel, and here's what you're gonna find. Just go to the whole buffet. We've talked about this in the last couple of weeks. Go out to all these religious messages out there and there are over 4200 hundred of 'em. And at the end of the day you could 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 wanna 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 don't do the the things we tell you to do and you won't do the things we 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. There are things you gotta do. Things you better not do. If we're gonna 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 message 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 it. 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 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. And what Paul is gonna hammer over and over and over, and I'm gonna say it over and over and over, read my lips, this is 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. That'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's talking 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. If Jesus doesn't die on the cross we don't have a gospel. If Jesus isn't buried we don't have a gospel. If 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 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, since I'm in this neighborhood. I just wanna go ahead and get one other thing out of way, if you don't mind, and I'm gonna be real plain spoken here about here I am, and if you're a guest of ours today, where our church, and where we will always be as long as I have anything to do with it.

And before I say this, what I'm about to say I do not mean it to be political. If I did I'd tell ya. I'm not gonna bait and switch. I don't mean to be political. I'm not in any way trying to discourage you from being involved in the political process. I'm not at all trying to say we should not have political concerns. I'm not at all saying we shouldn't have political opinion. I'm not even saying it's wrong to have political disagreements. I wanna make that all plain before I tell you what I'm about to say. We should not and we will not ever identify the gospel with any political party in this country. We don't preach a Republican gospel. We don't preach a Democratic gospel. We don't preach an Independent gospel. We don't preach a Libertarian gospel. We preach a Jesus gospel.

Listen, there are three things, you can give the Lord a hand, there are three things, you mark this down 'cause you're seeing it right now. There are three things that have always been under attack and they'll always be under attack. That's why the ministry's not for the faint of heart. That's why what I do, you make think it's an easy job, let me give you a month, you try it out. I'll be glad for you get the emails, and the letters, and the phone calls, no problem, no big deal. But there are three things always under attack, always will be. The master of the gospel, Jesus will always be under attack.

Now you may say wait a minute. Who's attacking Jesus? If you believe you can bypass the cross to get to God you just attacked Jesus. If you believe you can make a detour around the resurrection and leave Jesus out you just attacked Jesus. If you doubt the virgin birth and the divinity of Jesus, you just attacked Jesus. The moment you add and to the name Jesus you just attacked Jesus. So the master of the gospel is always under attack. Number two, the messenger of the gospel will always be under attack. When a man stands up today in this day and age and says Jesus is not a good way to heaven, not even the best way to heaven, he is the only way to heaven. You're gonna get attacked. That just goes with the territory.

The message of the gospel that only through the death, burial, and resurrection. That will always be under attack because people will always say surely in this day and age in which we live you're not gonna stand up there and tell me there's only one way and your way is the right way. No, I'm not. But I will stand up there and tell you there's only way and his way is the only way. Now when you say that, I'm just telling you, the slings and the arrows are going to come. So 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 will know when you hear 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-blowing, 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, how it 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 at a college. I didn't get this on some online course. I didn't hear it from some charismatic religious leader. He said, I got it from God himself. In other words, he said the gospel's 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 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 Mohammed. 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. It is the only message that his Good Housekeeping seal of approval, and to show how serious Paul is. 'Cause sometimes we hear this, we go when is this gonna be over, I don't think this is a big deal. Paul said wait a minute, let me show you how big of a deal this is. Let me show you how important it is. Let me tell you how serious it is, A, the 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 is 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 accursed, for being under God's curse, is the word anathema. You say what does that mean? Well it's not good. It literally means to the be under the wrath and the judgment of God. And Paul makes this incredible statement. And he says listen, if someone preaches any other gospel, or accepts any other gospel, then 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 say you know I've been thinking about it, Jesus is one way, but he's not the only way. Christianity's not 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. It doesn't matter. If he's not preaching the one true gospel he is under God's curse. Nobody has the right, and nobody has the authority to put God's name on their gospel. And if you don't think this is relevant, let me get into some of your grills right now. Let me get in some of your business right now. 'Cause I hear it all the time. I hope this comes our right, I'm not, well I am thinking of certain but I'm not gonna tell you who they are.

It blows my mind when people come up to me sometimes and they say you know, I listen to so and so all the time. Isn't he great? And I'm going, you have got to be putting me on. Help me Rhonda. You see in this day and age looks more like Hollywood than it does the kingdom of heaven. 'Cause here's what we've done, let's just be honest, we have made celebrities out of certain speakers, and we've made superstars out of certain religious leaders. So I'm gonna make a statement to you right now. This is kinda that statement I do every now and then when I say if you haven't heard anything else I've said, listen to this one. If you're on your cellphone right now texting your friend, get off your cellphone. If you're making your menu order for the restaurant get off the pad, okay, just look up here for a minute. If you don't hear anything else I tell you today, this is one of things that if I die today, you know I remember the pastor said this. 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, and he pastors this gigantic church, he's got this big following on television, he's written all these best-selling books. So, he must be right. I wanna 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 a small church, if 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, 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 were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Now again, you don't think this is relevant? I'll tell you how 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 message I just have to answer for mine. But there are certain pastors today who not only will say 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 you, 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 the true gospel, the true gospel has moral ramifications. The true gospel has sexual ramifications. The true gospel has ethical ramifications. The true gospel makes 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 just please Jesus. Or you can please Jesus and displease people. You can't do both.

And Paul said, when I stand before God I'm gonna 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 of its parts and perfect a 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. We oughta be open to new ideas. Maybe the church got it wrong for 2000 years. We now know more than our fathers did. Truth's never settled. 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 wrapping this up, I read recently something that will kinda fascinate you. 91% of the world's populations 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. I mean this is the capital. 74% have seen Coca-Cola. 51% have tasted Coca-Cola. 10% 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 every body 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 put them away in 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 'em, and play with 'em.

And in a world and 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 oughta be treated. And how a dad oughta have a loving concern for his children. And how children oughta have respect for their parents. And how marriage is a gift from God. And these early people, these people, they were looking at the early church and were saying, man, why are you so radically different? What is it that's changed about you? Why am I not like you? Why are you marching to the beat of a different drummer? What's making you stand out the North Star on a dark night?

And then you read further and you realize 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. Andy 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 the door of this build 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.
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