That Man Was Certifiable!February 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Galatians, Micah | 6 Comments
Tags: certificate of authenticity, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Spurgeon quotes, Galatians 1, Jesus, Mardi Gras, Micah, Paul, True Gospel
One good place to study the difference between real leaders and fake leaders is in the Book of Micah. Politicians think about the next election; statesmen think about the next generation. In Micah’s day, the real priests were shepherds who protected their flock; the fake priests were wolves who devoured the flock. The fake prophets gave good news to people who bribed them and bad news to people who shunned them; the real prophets just gave the people the truth, and could not be bought.
A good way to illustrate this point is to think about those big gaudy Mardi Gras beads.
Some of them are brightly colored and obviously not real jewelry, but some of the strands actually look, at first glance, like expensive pearls. There are a number of reasons, though, why these fake necklaces are not likely to really fool anyone:
1. They are tossed out casually, as if they are worthless.
2. In your hands, they feel like the cheap plastic they really are, not like weighty precious gems.
3. Here in South Louisiana we have experience with Mardi Gras beads, so we know that their real worth is extremely negligible once the parade is over and people start to sober up.
Finally, you can note that, unlike real jewelry from a real, reputable jewelry store, Mardi Gras beads do not come with a “certificate of authenticity.” In the Book of Galatians the Holy Spirit used a similar indicator in proving that the Gospel which the Apostle Paul preached was authentic, and that the false gospel of the Judaizers was not.
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
The Greek word translated as “certify” is “gnorizo,” and it comes from the same root word from which we get the English word “recognize.” The Holy Spirit is saying that, if you are familiar with the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself – the true Gospel – then you must recognize that Paul is preaching the exact same Gospel.
The message of Paul was given to Him directly by Jesus. It was “certified” by Paul’s mission, his ministry, his methods, and the contents of the message itself. If you listen to much modern theology you are likely to come across a statement like this one eventually: “Oh, I’m a Christian. I follow Jesus, but I don’t believe everything that Paul wrote.” Such a statement is pure foolishness. The famous British preacher, Charles Spurgeon, responded to such a statement with this quote:
It is not unusual to hear dubious persons profess to differ from the apostle, and they even dare to say, ‘There, I do not agree with Paul.’ I remember the first time that I heard this expression I looked at the individual with astonishment. I was amazed that such a pigmy as he should say this of the great apostle. Altogether apart from Paul’s inspiration, it seemed like a cheese-mite differing from a cherub, or a handful of chaff discussing the verdict of the fire. The individual was so utterly beneath observation that I could not but marvel that his conceit should have been so outspokenly shameless. Notwithstanding this objection, even when supported by learned critics, we still agree with the inspired servant of God. It is our firm conviction that, to differ from Paul’s epistles is to differ from the Holy Ghost, and to differ from the Lord Jesus Christ, whose mind Paul has fully expressed.
Charles H. Spurgeon