11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)
In contrast to perverted gospels that trouble souls by turning them away from the grace of Christ, the gospel preached by the apostle Paul was “not according to men” (Gal. 1:6, 11). Divine miracles certified the gospel he preached was from God (Mk. 16:20; Heb. 2:3-4). The true gospel is not from a human source (“I neither received it from man”) nor did it come to him as the result of religious training (“nor was I taught it”). The apostolic gospel is the result of “revelation of Jesus Christ” (v. 12). Elsewhere Paul wrote that by reading what he wrote we can understand his knowledge of the gospel (Eph. 3:3-5). Therefore, let us learn, trust and follow the gospel taught by the apostles. It has the power to turn sinners away from sin and to God’s gracious salvation in His Son. Every gospel that is different from the New Testament is from men and powerless to save.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 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. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. (Galatians 1:8-10)
There were many false gospels being preached in Paul’s day. There still are. What is preached as the gospel of Christ makes a different; it matters what you are taught and what you receive. For example, many tell you to “choose the church of your choice and glorify God”, but the Bible does not say that. We could just as well say, “choose the gospel of our choice and glorify God” (since the existence of different churches necessarily implies different gospels). But, the gospel of Christ speaks of only “one body”, one church (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4). Denominationalism is not the gospel preached by the apostles; it is the division of men (1 Cor. 1:12-13). It pleases men, but our goal is to please God by preaching what the apostles preached and by receiving what faithful Christians of the first-century received (vss. 8-9). Be sure you are a “bondservant of Christ” and not one who, by pleasing men, stands “accursed” of God.
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-7)
Not very long after the gospel of Christ spread from Jerusalem some began to trouble Christians with perversions of the gospel. You see, it does make a difference what we teach and what we believe. If what Christians teach is not important, then why was Paul amazed by them turning away so soon from Christ to “a different gospel”? A perverted gospel was turning Christians away from Christ and from His grace. One gospel went forth from Jerusalem, not many. One, and only one, calls us into the grace of Christ and secures our hope in Him. Do not settle for a perverted gospel that is developed by men and denies Christ.
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— 48 where ‘THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.’ (Mark 9:47-48)
Jesus gave a clear warning of the possibility of being cast into hell. Many wish to deny the reality of hell and its never-ending punishment. Yet, Jesus warns of “hell fire” where agony does not diminish and where fire does not consume. In another place, Jesus described hell as a “furnace of fire” where “there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:42). Sin will be punished – its wages is death – “but, the free gift of God is eternal life is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Thanks be to God who saves all who “call on the name of the Lord” (Acts 2:21, 37-41; Rom. 10:9-13). Accept God’s gift of eternal life like Saul: “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Heaven is real and eternal; so is hell. Where will you spend eternity?
17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. 18 Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” (Mark 6:17-18)
Read that again. It is undeniable that some marriages are not lawful in the sight of God. Herod and Herodias had married each other, but it was “not lawful” before God. You see, when they first met they already had spouses. They met, fell in love, schemed to divorce their mates and marry each other, which they did (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII:V). John the baptizer condemned their adultery and eventually lost his head for it (Mk. 6:19-28). We must remember that God-ordained marriage is for life, and God does not hold guiltless those who separate what God joins together (Matt. 19:3-6). Honor marriage by honoring the will of Him who gave us marriage (Heb. 13:4).
22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:22-24)
My father taught my brother and me by his good example to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. For Christians, giving an honest day’s labor is a matter of faith. Although this passage speaks to those forced to labor at the will of another, the principle of genuine, God-fearing labor abides true. We serve the Lord Christ, therefore, all we do is to bring honor to Him, including working honestly and respectfully. We work hard, not to be seen by our boss, but because our Lord in heaven sees us.
1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. (Proverbs 15:1-2)
The words we speak reveal our heart. They can do much damage or much good. Please note that the “soft answer” is strong to silence wrath when it “uses knowledge rightly”. When angry emotions rule the heart our words become harsh and foolish. Be careful to keep anger out of your heart. Otherwise, harsh and hurtful words will likely come out of your mouth and cause much damage to yourself and others. When someone is angry toward you, make up your mind to answer their wrath with soft words that are chosen by a knowledge of what is right (see James 1:19-20).