The Faith He Once Destroyed

Galatians

The Faith He Once Destroyed

July 15th, 1956 @ 10:50 AM

Galatians 1:13-24

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.
Print Sermon
Downloadable Media
  
Play Audio

Show References:
ON OFF

THE FAITH HE ONCE DESTROYED

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Galatians 1:13-24

7-15-56    10:50 a.m.

 

 

You are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and this is the pastor bringing the morning message.  Before I preach the sermon, could I welcome to our service my school friend, and my schoolmate and classmate in Baylor University, Senator Price Daniel?  He is here this morning, to my right, with his wife Jean and their four children.  Senator Daniel, would you stand up and your wife and the four children?  They came in late, and they are just as far back up there as it is possible to get.  It is good to have you, fellow.  And bless your heart and your work, and all that you are doing.  We are sure for you.

The pastor has been preaching through the Bible now for about eleven years; and we have come to the first chapter of the Book of Galatians.  And as a background for the message – – because the message will be built in the entire chapter – – I will read all of it.  It will be twenty-four verses.  The first chapter of Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia:

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead;)

And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

To whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the apokalupsis, the revelation of Jesus Christ.

For ye have heard of my living in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace,

To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;

And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ:

But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

And they glorified God in me.

[Galatians 1:1-24]

 

The whole tenor of that chapter, and the second one even more so, is of a type and of a kind that somehow surprises you.  We’re so accustomed to think of religion as being something very anemic, something milky, something so mild, and inoffensive, and unobtrusive, and self-effacing, until for anything by the name of Christian religion to have any might in it, or any power in it, or any teeth in it, or any offensive in it, or any attack in it is somehow rather shocking to us.  So when you read this epistle to the churches of Galatia, it’s just somewhat different from what you might expect.  But you don’t know God, and you don’t know the Lord, and you don’t know the texture and the feel and the fiber of the Christian faith until you realize the martyr stuff that’s in it.  And this is it.

You see, it came about like this.  Paul preached and established those churches in the interior of Asia Minor, in the old Roman province of Galatia.  And after he had established those churches, and they were prospering in the faith and in the glory of the freedom and liberty of the gospel of Jesus Christ, why, there came perverters, subverters, and they taught those churches in Galatia.  "You can’t be saved like Paul preached.  You can’t become a Christian and go to heaven just by trusting Jesus.  You’ve got to keep ordinances, and rituals, and rites, and ceremonies.  To believe in Christ is not enough for a man to be saved; he must do these works and these works and these other works, before a man can become a child of God, and ever see the face of the Lord when he dies."

Now the perversion of that gospel – – and I’m going to preach on tonight its attractiveness, its insinuation into our hearts and lives – – but the perversion of that gospel was given great animus, and drive, by a personal attack upon Paul himself.  They sustained the assault by pointing out to the churches of Galatia that this Paul who preaches this gospel unto you, this Paul was not one of the Twelve.  He never saw Jesus in the flesh, nor was he ever commissioned by any one of the Twelve.  He’s a pseudo-false apostle.  And by what authority does he come proclaiming this faith that a man can be saved just by trusting Jesus without the works of the law?

Now, in Paul’s defense of his gospel, he was forced, because of the nature of the attack, to defend himself.  And he does it in an unusual way.  When he stands up for his apology, his apologia, his defense, when he stands up he doesn’t qualify, or extenuate, or rationalize his independence of the Twelve.  Rather, he exults in it, and he glories in it.

He does it in the first sentence:  "Paul, an apostle," not by the hierarchy of the church, not by Simon Peter, not by any archbishop, or prelate, or legate; "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead:)" [Galatians 1:1].    That’s an unusual man, this man Paul.  He announces, not apologetically, he reasons, not extenuatingly, that his apostleship and his call from God came altogether separate and apart from Peter, from James, from John, from the Twelve; but that it came to him directly from Jesus Christ Himself [Galatians 1:1].

It’s an unusual doctrine, that men receive all over this world, that Christ delegated a portion of His power to certain men, and those men delegate it to other men, and those men delegate it to still other men; that they are the vicars of Christ.  They have in their hands all of the power of God Almighty, and they delegate it through ordination, and through laying on of hands, and through sacraments, and through blessings.  They delegate it to other men.  That was the charge they brought against the apostle Paul:  "This man is not one of the Twelve, nor did he receive a commission from one of the Twelve."

And Paul answers, and he does it in glory, and in power, and in exaltation, "That is right," says Paul, "I received my commission, and my call, and my authority to preach not from any hierarchy, not from any man, not from any prelate; but it came to me directly from God Himself.  It came by call and by revelation of Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead" [Galatians 1:1].

I have never been able to enter into this first chapter of the Book of Acts; I don’t understand.  I’ve studied.  I’ve asked God.  I don’t know.  I just lay it before you.  The apostles gathered together and they elected Matthias to take the place that Judas had vacated by his treachery [Matthew 26:14-16, 47-50] and death [Matthew 27:3-5].  He was elected by men.  Matthias was elected by men, chosen by men, to take the place of Judas [Acts 1:26].

And thereafter, the Bible says – the first chapter of Acts says – he was numbered with one of the Twelve [Acts 1:26].  The thing that bothers me is this:  I have always thought that the real successor to that apostleship and that bishopric was Paul himself.  For a man to elect an apostle, for a man to choose an apostle, was quite different from the great choice of the apostle Paul.

He was chosen by Jesus Himself, by the intervention of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit [Galatians 1:1]; and Matthias was elected by men [Acts 1:26].  But I leave that with God.  I don’t understand all the things that I read here in the Bible.  All I know is this:  that the election of the apostle Paul, and the intervention in the life of Paul, and the great commission of the apostle Paul was not by man, nor was it by the election of man, but it came by the holy unction, and revelation, and power, and infinite wisdom, and choice of God in heaven [Galatians 1:1].

He was independent of the Twelve, and he exalts, I say, in that.  When he was converted, he never conferred with them [Galatians 1:15-17].  And when he did his work, he did his work separate and apart from them.  But that will appear as we continue in the message today and tonight.

All right, another avowal that Paul made:  not only did he exalt in, and did he glory in his independence of the Twelve, but he also says that the message that he preaches, and the gospel that he brings is a message that he neither received from men, or by tradition, or by listening to others.  But that the message that he received, and the gospel that he preaches, he received by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.

He was not taught it by man.  He never learned it from Simon Peter, or James and John; but he learned it directly from the heavenly celestial lips of Jesus Christ in heaven.  "I certify you, brethren that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it by man, but by apokalupsis of Jesus Christ" [Galatians 1:11-12].  When I turn over here to the Book of the Revelation, it starts off with, "The apokalupsis of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him," you have it translated, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" [Revelation 1:1].  That’s the word he uses here:  "I was not taught it by man, neither did I receive it from man, but I received it by the apokalupsis, by the unveiling of Jesus Christ.  Christ taught it to me His own self, from His own lips" [Galatians 1:11-12].  The same Christ exalted, that gave the Revelation to John in the last book of the Bible [Revelation 1:1-3, 9-20], that same living, risen Lord revealed to the apostle Paul the gospel that Paul preaches [Galatians 1:11-12].  I wonder if I could call it "the fifth Gospel?"  Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and now this fifth one, the apostle Paul, an altogether independent witness to the glorious story and message of Jesus Christ.

Luke says, in the first sentence in his Gospel, Luke says that, "I, O Theophilus, I have traced the certainty of this story [Luke 1:1-4].  I have looked at men and documents others have written, and I have visited eye witnesses, and I have gained from them these stories.  And I write them down."  That’s where Luke says he got his Gospel.

John was one of the Twelve.  He was a follower of Jesus; and the things he wrote down he saw.  Mark wrote down his Gospel as Simon Peter said it.  Mark’s Gospel is the gospel of Simon Peter.  Matthew, of course, was also one of the Twelve.  But the gospel that Paul preaches was not learned from any man.  It was not heard from the lips of another man.  He does not say, "By tradition and by hearsay, and by what others have seen," but Paul says, "The gospel that I preach I received directly from the lips of Jesus Christ in heaven.  It has come to me by revelation [Galatians 1:11-12].  For I have received of the Lord Jesus, that which also I delivered unto you" [1 Corinthians 15:3].

He says here in proof of that message, he says that, when I was converted, "I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them who were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia.  And then after three years, I went up into Jerusalem, and I saw one apostle, Simon Peter.  I stayed with him a fortnight.  But others saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother" [Galatians 1:16-19].

As the Twelve followed the Lord Jesus for three years, so the apostle Paul went into Arabia for three years [Galatians 1:17-18].  He went to Mt. Sinai, in Arabia, and there, where God spake to Moses face to face [Exodus 33:11], and there where Elijah the prophet of God listened to the voice of God [1 Kings 19:8-18], in that same place did the apostle Paul go; and there did God speak to him face to face [Galatians 1:11-12].  And the gospel that he preaches, and this great saving message that he delivers, he received directly from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, by revelation, by apokalupsis [Galatians 1:11-12].

Therefore, when I read in the apostle Paul all of these things that he writes in his letters, Paul speaks of paradise, of the third heaven, of hearing things unutterable [2 Corinthians 12:2-4].  Paul speaks of the dissolution of the earthly house of this tabernacle, and the building of God we have, not made with hands, in heaven [2 Corinthians 5:1].  He speaks of the resurrection of the dead [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].  He speaks of our beloved dead.  He speaks of Christ coming again.  He speaks of the great final judgment, and he speaks of the ultimate and glorious triumph of God’s children in Christ [1 Corinthians 15:54-57].

When I read those things, I am to know and to remember and to understand that Paul was taught those things by Jesus, who is in heaven, who revealed them to him personally, face to face, mouth to mouth.  "This gospel which I preach, it is not of man, neither is it by man, neither was I taught it by man, but by revelation of Jesus Christ" [Galatians 1:11-12].  When I read, therefore, from the page of the apostle Paul, I am reading from the very word and revelation of Jesus Christ.  This is an independent testimony to the saving message of the Son of God.

Now, a third avowal; not only was he independent of the Twelve, does he say, and not only is his message an independent message, it was received from the lips of Jesus Himself, but the work of the apostle Paul was an independent work.  It was altogether separate and apart from the other apostles.  Here in the second chapter of the Book of Galatians, he says, "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed . . . when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter, before them all" [Galatians 2:11-14].

What was this thing that Peter was to be blamed in?  It was this.  Simon Peter was a true messenger of God.  He was a true exponent of the saving grace of Jesus, until he got with a group from James the Lord’s brother, and the pastor of the church [Galatians 2:12], who said, "Listen here, listen here, you can’t be saved by trusting Jesus.  You got to add to that saving faith in Christ.  You’ve got to add the works of the law.  You’ve got to eat just so and so, clean and unclean; and you’ve got to observe just so this and that; and you’ve got to be circumcised, according to the law of Moses.  You can’t be saved. You can’t see the face of God.  You can’t go to heaven when you die unless you add to that faith in Christ all of these rituals and all of these ceremonies" [Galatians 2:14]; and when Simon Peter fell in a group of those ceremonialists, and those ritualists who said, "You can’t be saved by grace alone, but you must also add to it these ceremonies and these rites and these ordinances," why, Simon Peter dissimulated with them [Galatians 2:12-13].  He moved over and said, "That’s right, that’s right."  And when Simon Peter moved over, the apostle Paul said, "And I withstood him to the face!  And I said to Peter before them all" [Galatians 2:11].

Now what does that mean?  That means simply this:  the disciples of Jesus were called Christians in Antioch, not in Jerusalem.  They were called Christians in Antioch [Acts 11:26].  Why weren’t they called Christians in Jerusalem?  Simply because down there in Jerusalem, in that great city of God that’s a picture of the heavenly city that is to come, down there in that city of Jerusalem those disciples of Jesus there were all walking in the way of the temple.

They sacrificed at the temple.  They observed all of the offerings of the temple.  They went up to pray at the hours of prayer in the temple.  Down there in Jerusalem they were known as the sect of the Nazarenes.  They were just another part, just another part of that great temple worship in Jerusalem.

And had the Christian faith not been anything else or other than that sect of the Nazarenes, when the Roman legions came by, and when their great engines of war drove through the walls and heaped them even with the ground, and destroyed the temple, and destroyed the sacrifices and destroyed the altars, at that same time they would have also destroyed this faith and this sect of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It would have been just one other of those buried underneath the heaps of debris and rubble in the temple in Jerusalem.  But as it was, this faith of the apostle Paul, this religion, this message that Paul received from heaven, it wasn’t tied on to any ritual or to any ordinance.  It wasn’t tied on to any ceremony, or any prelate, or any legate.  It was tied on to no hierarchy, or to man.

Sometimes when I get to thinking the church is in danger, and the truth is being assaulted, and is nigh to oblivion, I try to call back to my mind, "Who am I to tremble for the Word of God?"  The Lord lives; and without hierarchy or priest or man, God’s Word can continue on, and will [Isaiah 40:8].  If the whole civilized world is destroyed by atoms and hydrogen bombs, the great ultimate truth of Christ will live now, and forever, and forever; and like a phoenix, rise living, resurrected, and triumphant again over the smoking ruins and debris of this fallen and sin-weary world.  He wins!  He always does.

So this great gospel message of justification by faith in Christ, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, not of ordinances, lest any man should boast, and say, Look, I did it" [Ephesians 2:8-9].  Our salvation is not tied to a baptistery.  It’s not tied to a table.  It’s not tied to a sacrament.  It’s not tied to men.  It’s not tied to hierarchy.  It’s not tied to ceremony.  It is tied to Jesus Christ alone, who lives and reigns in heaven forever and ever, and who will be triumphant over all things, yesterday, today, and forever [Galatians 2:16].

And that independent message of the apostle Paul resulted in what you call "Christians," named at Antioch [Acts 11:26]; a strange new kind of people, who coming out of heathenism, and out of idolatry, and out of paganism, directly, without any intermediate state, without any rite or ritual or ceremony – directly they came into the full heart of God, as children born of the Holy Spirit.  "By faith are ye justified in Christ, by faith" [Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:24],"And Abraham believed God; and his faith was counted for righteousness" [Genesis 15:6],"The just shall live by faith" [Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17].

There’s a lot of sermons yet to come on that.  Now may I follow the apostle Paul here in this first chapter, following what he says in defense of the message that he preached?  Fifteenth and the sixteenth verses, now just as quickly and attentively as you can.  "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb," this thing was a great work of the inscrutable, unfathomable choice of God; "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb" [Galatians 1:15].  Yesterday, visiting in the hospital, a glorious Christian woman whose sister lay there sick said to me, "Pastor, are our lives ordered in heaven?  Are our lives planned in glory?  Are they?"

According to the Word of God, and according to the sovereignty of the Almighty, the answer is an eternal and everlasting, "Yea, yes, indeed!"  I cannot enter into that, for here I am free.  How I am morally free and God is eternally sovereign; I do not know.  No man can enter in to the mysteries of God.  But God has seen, and known, and planned, and predetermined, and predestinated long before I was born, before you were born, "when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb" [Galatians 1:15].

God said to Jeremiah, "Before thou were formed in the womb, before thou were separated from thy mother, I called thee" [Jeremiah 1:5].  God said of Esau and Jacob, the two twins in the womb of Rebekah their mother, God said, "The younger shall be chief, and the older shall serve the younger" [Genesis 25:23].  God said of that little child that Zacharias and Elizabeth shall have, "His name is to be called John [Luke 1:13], and he is to be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb" [Luke 1:15].  Pure accidental birth?  No, sir!  God knew, and God sent you, and God separated you for a purpose!

"When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb" [Galatians 1:15], he was born a Hebrew of the Hebrews, of the tribe of Benjamin, of the stock of Abraham, according to the choice of God [Philippians 3:5].  He was born a Roman citizen, according to the choice of God.  He was born in Tarsus, the capital city of the Roman province of Cilicia, and there he went to a Greek university, according to the choice of God [Acts 22:3].

And in youth he was sent to Jerusalem, and there he studied at the feet of Gamaliel, and he disciplined himself according to all of the rigorous life of the status sect of the Jews, Pharisees, and he gave himself to the rabbinical study and lore of the Scriptures according to the schools of his day [Acts 22:3].  All of it by accident?  No sir, according to the choice and call and election of Almighty God!  He holds this world and our lives in His hands.

"Pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me" [Galatians 1:15-16].  When Paul grew up, as a member now of the Sanhedrin, without peer in the zeal for the religion of his fathers, he stood there and superintended the martyrdom of Stephen, God’s deacon preacher, as he saw them beat Stephen’s life into the dust of the ground, and stone him to death.  Paul was there [Acts 7:54-58].  In his rage, and in his fury, and in his madness against this sect, he persecuted them! [Acts 26:9-11].  He haled men and women into prison [Acts 8:3].  He made them blaspheme at the scourge and at the lash.  And when they were tried and put to death he gave his vote against them [Acts 26:10].  And finally, with letters from the chief priests, he went into strange cities, hailing men and women into prison, and trying them for this sect, this new faith of Christ [Acts 9:2].

It was while he was in that threatening and in that rage and in that murder, that with letters from the chief priests he made his way to Damascus to find any of that way there, and hail them back to prison and to death [Acts 9:1-2].  On the way, and on the way, there stood the glorified, transfigured, immortalized, iridescent Son of God, standing in the way [Acts 9:3-6].  Isn’t that a strange thing?

I hear you say, "Why, I understand Jesus can call a man by the Sea of Galilee, in the days of His flesh, walking by He sees a fisherman, I can understand that [Matthew 4:18-22].  Why, why I can understand going by the receipt of custom, there is Matthew, and he’s a tax collector, and Jesus calls him [Matthew 9:9].  I understand that.  And here’s a man praying under a fig tree, Nathanael [John 1:48].  Why, I can see why He would call him.  But you see, Jesus is in heaven now [Acts 1:9-10], and He can’t call men anymore.  He is a dead Christ.  He was crucified and buried [Matthew 27:32-61].  And I can see how He called men in the days of His flesh, but He doesn’t call men now that He is in glory."

Where have you been?  Jesus reached down out of God’s heaven and appeared to Paul, and set him apart for the great work that he did [Acts 9:1-15].  And I could stand here in this sacred place, and by the hour, and the hour, and the hour could I recount to you how Jesus Christ reached down out of His heaven and laid His hand upon Savonarola, and upon John Huss, and upon Martin Luther, and upon John Wesley, and upon John Knox, and upon Obadiah Holmes, and upon a mountain boy named George Truett, and sent them out to preach the glorious gospel of the unsearchable riches of Christ.  I haven’t time even to name them.

You say He is dead, that He was crucified and buried, that He can’t call on men, that He doesn’t separate men today?  His work still lives.  His Spirit marches on.  There are still men who follow in His train.  "It pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, To reveal His Son in me" [Galatians 1:15-16].  That’s the risen, resurrected, heavenly Christ who did that, like He does today.  "That I might preach Him among the nations," for a purpose, "That I might preach him among the nations."  Ah, the apostle, "That I might preach him among the nations" [Galatians 1:16].

"Ananias, you go to such and such address on the street called Straight," still there, some of us have been in the same spot;

 

You go to that address, and there you will find a man who once with a high hand haled men and women to prison and to death because they believed on My name.  You go there and you will find him now, down on his knees, praying.  You go tell him, Stand up on his feet.  You go tell him that I am sending him far hence to the nations and the peoples with the gospel message.  And you tell him, Ananias, I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake.

[Acts 9:10-16]

 

And Paul arose and was baptized [Acts 9:18], and into Arabia, then back again, and preaching the Lord Jesus Christ [Galatians 1:15-18]; "How great things he must suffer for My name’s sake" [Acts 9:16].  Tears shall be his drink.  Agony and travail shall be his bedfellow.  Suffering and pain shall be his traveling companion.  Persecution shall greet him at every city [2 Timothy 3:10-11].  He shall know what it is to languish and languish the years and the years in prison, and finally, to face martyrdom and death.

But listen to the apostle as he cries, "I am the least of the apostles, but I am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of Christ. But by God’s grace I am what I am: and His grace bestowed upon me was not in vain: but I labored more abundantly than they all" [1 Corinthians 15:9-10].  And listen to his final paean, "For I fought a good fight, I finished my course, I have kept the faith" [2 Timothy 4:7].

"How great things he must suffer for My name’s sake.  And he shall be My witness to preach to the people" [Acts 9:15-16].  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" [1 Timothy 1:15].  And he preached it by the roadside, and he preached it on the highway, and he preached it in the marketplace, and he preached it in the house, and he preached it in the synagogue, and he preached it on Mars’ Hill, and he preached it before kings and queens, and before princes.  And he preached it before Nero, and Felix, and Festus, and Agrippa.  Wherever he went, there he sowed down the whole civilized world with the glorious message of the faith in Jesus Christ.

I have to quit.  That’s our call and our obedience today.  "Why, preacher, you mean God has called us?"  Yes, God has called us, us.  He has called us.  "Preacher, I don’t know any Greek.  I don’t know any Hebrew.  I never read a word of Arminius or John Calvin in my life.  I haven’t studied the commentaries.  How could I preach and testify?"

Listen man, you don’t need to know Greek.  You don’t need to know Hebrew.  You don’t need to study the commentary.  You don’t even need hours of leisure.  Not for this message, not for this.  Let the drunk who was in the gutter a week ago, who can stand up and say that, "I know Jesus Christ for myself," let him stand under a tree, or let him stand against the wall and take his text, "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" [1 Timothy 1:15].  And let him tell men what Jesus has done for him.

Let the blacksmith take off his apron, and lay down his hammer, and tell what the Lord has done for him.  Let the carpenter lay aside his plane and his saw and his chisel, and tell friends and neighbors what Jesus has done for him.  Let the clerk in the bank, and the stenographer at the desk, and the man in his law office, and the physician in his hospital room, and every man and woman among us, let us say without apology, without intimidation, let us say what Jesus has done for us.  Oh, what a triumphant hour, what a glorious, glorious day, if God’s people could share somewhat of the spirit of the apostle.  "This did God do for me, and this by His grace, humbly am I trying to do for Him."

God bless us, dear people, as we walk in the pilgrim way, the light that grows brighter and brighter, as we grow older and older, until finally it dawns in the heavenly celestial sunshine of the whole, full revelational presence of Jesus Christ our Savior.

Now may we sing our song?  While we sing our song, somebody you, a family you, give his heart to Jesus, put his life with us here in the church.  However God shall say the word and lead the way, would you come?  Would you come?  Humbly, prayerfully, "Here I am, pastor, giving my heart to that Lord, putting my life here in the fellowship of this church."  God has to do it.  The call has to come from Him.  If it comes from me, it’s nothing, it’s of man.  But if it comes from God, heed it.  O, my soul, that you heed it! If the Lord bids you, if He calls, you come.  You come, while we stand and while we sing.

THE FAITH HE ONCE DESTROYED

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Galatians 1:13-24

7-15-56

 

I.          The occasion of this letter to the Galatians

A.  Ceremonial teachers corrupting the faith of the Galatians church

B.  Sustained the assault by attacking Paul personally

C.  Paul’s defense

1.  His independent call (Galatians 1:1)

a. Matthias chosen by men (Acts 1:26)

2.  His independent gospel, revelation (Galatians 1:11-12, Revelation 1:1)

a. "The Fifth Gospel" (Luke 1:1-4, 1 Corinthians 15:3, Galatians 1:16-19)

3.  His independent work (Galatians 2:11-14)

a. Challenged Simon Peter when he dissimulated

b. Disciples called Christians in Antioch, not Jerusalem (Acts 11:26)

c. Preached justification by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 1:17, 5:1, Galatians 3:24, Genesis 15:6, Habakkuk 2:4)

 

II.         Paul expands the declaration

A.  Chosen from his birth (Galatians 1:15-16)

1.  The higher, unseen purpose of God at work (Jeremiah 1:4-5, Genesis 25:23, Luke 1:15)

2.  Divine providence controlling his training

a. Without peer in zeal for religion of his fathers (Acts 7:58, 9:2)

B.  Confronted on the Damascus road by Christ (Acts 9:3-6)

1.  The purpose (Galatians 1:15-16, Acts 9:10-16)

2.  His suffering and martyrdom (1 Corinthians 15:9-10, 2 Timothy 4:7)

3.  His faithfulness in testimony (1 Timothy 1:15)