Bible Reading: 1 Kings 3:20-27; Galatians 1:6-9
What would life be like if we could get upgrades on everything? Like when you’ve used a phone for a while and the manufacturer releases an upgraded version, you simply turn in the old and take up the new.
That would be cool!
I could do with a newer model of my car, of my computer, and all that. Maybe you’re thinking, yes- and of my spouse too. Well, that’s between you both!
How about if we asked God for an upgrade on the gospel?
I think there’s a generation that subtly tries to tweak and ‘upgrade’ the gospel. We kind of pick out some of the elements and work at ‘customizing’ them into our generational or situational convenience.
Paul warned the Galatians about distorting the gospel in the strongest words possible:
Frankly I am stunned. I cannot believe that you have abandoned God so quickly- even after He called you through the grace of the Anointed One- and have fallen for a different gospel. Actually there is only one true gospel of the Anointed, and you- because of divisive prodding by others- are accepting a distorted version which is not the gospel at all! No matter the source of the false gospel, even if it is preached by us or a heavenly messenger, ignore it. May those who add to or subtract from the gospel of Jesus be eternally cursed! Galatians 1:6-8 VOICE
I think our reading today about the mothering harlots in 1 Kings provides us a picture of the devil’s onslaught against gospel-believing believers.
The woman who was the real mother of the child started out holding the entirety of her child, then she was tempted to accept another- a dead one. Then after the squabble in front of the King, she was tempted to accept half of her child.
We deal with both temptations as believers in a fast paced generation: swap the child and take another. Paul calls it ‘another gospel’, a ‘different gospel’. It’s rather worrisome how many church faithfuls cannot even tell what the gospel is. Rather than a Jesus-focused gospel, we have a self-centred gospel, where it’s all about us and our convenience and our pleasure and our needs. That is not the gospel!
The gospel is about Jesus.
The gospel is not a message birthed out of human situation and circumstance- economic, relational, etc. The gospel is an eternal message of the state and destiny of humanity. You don’t shift the goal posts because players are tired.
And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all. 1 Kings 3:21 NLT
I think this is what we must all resolve to keep doing. Knowing that we all have a tendency to slip or shift lanes, we need to constantly examine what we hold in the light (of God’s word). Have we taken up another gospel in the darkness of night situations? Have economic pressures made us alter the basis of our faith? Has what people do all around us and the dark systems we live with made us forget that Jesus is the impending judge of the world?
The second layer of the temptation is a watering down- a dividing of the gospel. I think when the devil finds we won’t throw it all away, he subtly tries to get us to take the half and leave the other. Confess Jesus as Savior, but don’t live under His Lordship; have a form of godliness, but deny the power.
However, the woman fought against the dividing. She understood the trick quite well. Small children can grow into fully mature children, but no half child grows into a full child. Any half you get is a dead half and will decay and rot all the more.
We must be quick to re-examine and correct our steps where we have strayed.
The Gospel is the good news that the incarnate and crucified Saviour, Jesus Christ, is the risen Lord and impending judge of the world.
Let’s do a surface morning-light examining together:
It is good news. Being sad and depressed about the gospel and the cause of Christ is allowing a swap.
It is about Jesus. Becoming self-centered / focused in the cause of the gospel is a swap.
It recognizes that He was born as a man. The gospel makes the cause and call of God totally relatable. Jesus was not born as an angel, he came in our very form. He is not distant from our realities. That should greatly encourage you in your daily walk.
It recognizes that He was crucified. The light will remind us again and again that Jesus has done the big one for us! We don’t go moaning over the little details of life, when we have a Saviour who has once and for all, paid the ultimate price.
It recognizes that He was raised from the dead. The light will remind us that we are not defeated! Our Saviour has once and for all conquered the grave and we have the victory in him.
It recognizes His Lordship. The light will bring us a fresh awareness of obedient surrender and worship.
It recognizes Him in His authority by which He will judge the world. The light will put a lot in perspective. Life is not just about here and now. Judgment is coming!
I pray that your response will be like that of the real mother of the child, who cried out, and insisted on the full.
Paul came really hard on the Galatians because the gospel is so centrally at the heart of our faith- how dare we tweak it and lose it?
May we walk in the full power of the full gospel.