This is the sermon for Sunday, July 18th, 2010.

Galatians part 3

Acceptance

Galatians 2:1-10.

Galatians 2:1-10 ESV – 1Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. 3But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— 5to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. 6And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. 7On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

Introduction: Last time we looked at what Paul believed the Gospel was: the revelation of Jesus Christ that changes you.  Paul certainly knew this change, because when Jesus revealed Himself to Paul, he was changed in an instant.

Paul is continuing to share his testimony to the Church in Galatia; he is doing this as a defense of his apostleship.  The reason he is defending his apostleship is because the Judaizers are questioning it.  Within the text Paul shows that not only has he been accepted by Christ Jesus Himself, but he has also been accepted by Peter, James, and John – pillars of the Church.

Now before we begin to unpack our text, we should be humbled and amazed over the fact that we have been accepted by God through Christ Jesus our Lord.  But true Christians accept one another as well – warts and all!

Let’s begin unpacking our text.

Paul visits Jerusalem for clarification.

Galatians 2:1-2 ESV – 1Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.

Paul had ministered the Gospel of Jesus Christ for fourteen years.  He didn’t clear his message through the Church council of Jerusalem (the center of Gospel preaching at the time); he simply preached the Gospel to whoever would hear him.  After fourteen years Paul decides to go to Jerusalem taking Barnabas and Titus with Him.

What was the purpose of this visit (which is actually his second visit) to Jerusalem?  “To make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.” I personally believe that Paul wanted to make sure the Gospel he received by revelation and proclaimed was the same Gospel the original disciples proclaimed.

Much can be learned here: we must test what we teach with Scripture, and also faithful proclaimers of the Gospel throughout history.  If you have some “new revelation” and it contradicts Scripture and the clear interpretation of it, then this “revelation” is not from God.

The importance of Titus.

Galatians 2:4-5 ESV – 4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— 5to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

This trip of Paul’s had two positive results.

Two positive results:

  • Titus was accepted. Why was this important?  Well, because Titus was an uncircumcised Greek, and yet he was accepted by the Jerusalem church and their three pillars: Peter, James, and John.  This argument is a slap in the face to the Judaizers.  For the church they claimed to be from (Jerusalem) accepted someone in the faith who was not circumcised!  This shoots holes in the Judaizer’s arguments.
  • Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles was recognized.

Galatians 2:6-9 ESV – 6And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. 7On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

This was another hole in the argument of the Judaizers.  Peter, James, and John, along with the Jerusalem church accepted Paul’s message and ministry to the Gentiles, and they don’t say one thing about circumcision and law-keeping!  Truly, the Gospel Paul received by revelation and preached was the same Gospel message Jesus had taught to Peter and John!

What can we learn here?  Well, many people want to focus on many different messages: Prosperity, healing, the Holy Spirit, last days, purpose, etc… and while we should proclaim some of these messages, our focus of our lives and ministries should be proclaiming Christ and Him crucified for our sins and raised for our justification.

Remembering the needy.

Galatians 2:10 ESV – Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

It is amazing that the only stipulation that Peter, James, and John put on Paul was to remember the poor, which of course he says he was, “eager to do.”

Let’s not just proclaim the Gospel, but live it out by reaching out to those who have needs.  If we can’t financially and physically help, we can pray for them.

Conclusion: Thank God the Gospel is freeing!  It’s not about binding people down with rules and regulations, but freeing us from our sin and condemnation.  We’ve been accepted by God through Jesus Christ our Savior!  Let’s open up our hearts and accept one another – no strings attached.

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