Sunday was the installation service for Pastor Mark Radke at the nearby Garfield Park United Church of Christ. Mark is a good friend and partner in ministry in our area of Indianapolis. He was kind enough to ask me to speak for the occasion.
The Demanding Privilege of Making Known the Mystery of the Gospel
Many Christians are making a big mistake. They see Christ as a means to an end when He is actually the be all and end all of their existence. They see faith in Christ as the way to a happy life, the path to earthly success or comfort, or the solution to their present problems. In Paul’s case, the high calling that he received turned out to be a very demanding privilege.
The Apostle Paul is seriously upset. Churches in the Roman province of Galatia that he had worked very hard and even risked his life to plant were now falling for a false gospel – one that required them to keep Jewish customs and rituals. He is writing to them to set the record straight. They need to stick to the truth of the gospel and not let anything, not even these seemingly biblical elements, cause them to depart from it, add to it, or modify it in any way.
This Chapter is easily one of the most memorable in the Bible. It starts with a private conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. Then we’ll hear about Jesus from John the Baptist. Important verses in this chapter are the well-known John 3:16, which explains the gospel in one verse, and John 3:30, which summarizes discipleship in one verse: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”