Gospel Driven Churches Reach Out Without Selling Out

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As we read this passage we have to keep in mind where we are in the context of Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
Paul wrote the letter of Galatians for two main reasons:
He wanted clarifying the true meaning of the gospel.
Paul is writing to bring clarity to Christians over what it really means to be right with God.
He is clarifying the answer to a universal questions that all people deal with in the world that we live in… “How can I get right with God?”
The reason why Paul was seeking to bring clarity to the message of the gospel was due to the fact that false teachers had come into the church and were causing people in the church to question whether or not Christ alone was sufficient for salvation…or if we had to add to the work of Christ with our own works of righteousness.
Specifically…the ritual practice of circumcision...

We are Called to Reach Out

You might be wondering where I get this idea of “reaching out” in this passage...
It’s subtle…but if you pay close attention to this passage you will see the Missional Elements that are in it...
3 Missional Elements:
Cooperation (v.1-2)
Notice what Paul says about why he goes to Jerusalem in the first place...
Galatians 2:1–2 ESV
1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I 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 says that he goes to Jerusalem to set the gospel before those whom seem influential in order to make sure that he hadn't run in vain.
What race was Paul running? What was Paul’s aim in life?
Listen to his own words:
Romans 15:18–21 ESV
18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”
Paul’s ambition was to live on mission to make the Jesus known to the Gentiles. He is called to reach the unreached.
Ultimately, the trip that Paul took to Jerusalem that we read about here Galatians was because he has the mission of God in mind. Paul understood that the false the false teachers he was dealing with were a real threat to the fruitfulness of his ministry…Paul went to make sure that the leaders of the Jerusalem church affirmed his ministry to the gentiles because if they didn't he would have a hard time convincing people that the message that he proclaimed was the true gospel.
So his aim in going to Jerusalem was to partner with the church in Jerusalem for his ambition of making Jesus known the the Gentiles.
“Nothing was threatening Paul’s certainty, but something was threatening his fruitfulness.” -Tim Keller
Paul writes that he went to Jerusalem in order to present his gospel. At first glance we might assume that Paul was looking for the affirmation of the Jerusalem leaders…but this isnt why Paul went. He wasnt going because he had doubts about the nature of the gospel, instead he went to show the Apostles in Jerusalem that the gospel that he preached was God’s gospel. Paul was afraid that he had run in vain because he knew that if the Apostle’s in Jerusalem didnt support his missionary efforts, it was hinder his ability to preach the gospel to the lost.
Paul’s purpose in going to Jerusalem is best described by the word “Cooperation.” He wanted to Cooperate with the Jerusalem believers in order to reach more people with the message of salvation.
Paul went to Jerusalem because he understood that—in order to accomplish the Great Commission—we must learn to cooperate with each other even if we don’t agree on every particular matter.
As believers in Jesus…we have to be willing to set aside our prefrences in order to accomplish God’s plan.
We all have tons of opinions in church world...
We have opinions of worship style…what songs we should sing and how they should sound.
We have preferences on ministry philosophy…whether we have Sunday school or small groups or bible studies or…on and on the list can go.
And we even have some convictions about particular things.
We have convictions on what we think the Bible teaches.
And all of these issues have some level of importance, no doubt.
But the unique aspect of being Southern Baptist is that we believe that we set aside our preferences and even some of our convictions to cooperate with other churches in order to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
SBC churches hold this conviction above all others…we believe in working with other churches…and were in good company…because this is what the church did in the first century...
Commission (v.7-9)
Paul is sent out as a missionary by the Jerusalem Apostles. Paul says that they gave him the “right hand of fellowship” meaning that they were totally in support of Paul’s calling.
Notice Paul’s words in verse 9 specifically. Notice that everyone involved had a mission field. The Jerusalem Apostle’s recognized that Paul was called to preach the gospel to Gentiles, and notice that Paul recognized that Peter, James, and John were all called to preach the gospel to Jewish nationalists.
Everybody in the room that day had a mission field....because every Christian has been called to steward the gospel wherever God has called them.
Some people are called overseas—Like Paul was called to the Gentile world
Some people are called across the street—Like Peter, James, and John.
But all of us…if we are followers of Jesus are called to do the work of making disciples in every rhythm of life.
Charles Spurgeon once rightly said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or he is an imposter.”
Jesus said it this way, “All authority has been given to me…Therefore, go…makes disciples…baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you....And behold I am with you always even until the end of the age...
Gospel Driven Churches understand that we have been commissioned by Jesus by reaching out…Our calling…each and every one of us as members of Heucks Retreat Baptist Church is to make it our aim to make Jesus known in Brookhaven and Beyond....
Compassion (v.10)
We are called to reach out through showing compassion to the poor.
After Paul and the Jerusalem Apostle’s agree that they are unified in the nature of the gospel and they send Paul out to preach the gospel to the gentiles....they ask Paul to keep one important thing in mind…look at verse 10...
What Paul says here is that everyone in the room that day was passionate about the same cause…care for the poor.
The Poor here in this passage obviously refers to poor believers in Jerusalem primarily…but scripture is also obviously teaches us that we are to care for all of those who are in need—even people who are not Christians.
Galatians 6:10 ESV
10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
So as followers of Jesus…we MUST have concern for the poor...
I want to talk to you about 2 myths that exist when it comes to poor people:
While this may be true for some poor people…it is not true for all poor people...
…the Proverbs teach us that there is a difference between people who are really poor and those who are just lazy…and even Paul himself says “If you dont work…you dont eat.” in 2 Thessalonians 3:10
However, there are millions of people around the world today that are impoverished or poor—not because they are lazy…but because we live in a world that is enslaved to sin. MANY TIMES THIS INCLUDES CHILDREN....
Today, more than a billion people in the world live and die in desperate poverty.
These people attempt to live on less than a dollar a day. Close to 2 billion try to live on less than 2 dollars. That’s nearly half of the worlds population…living on less than 2 dollars a day.
Today…26,000 children will breath their last breath due to starvation and preventable disease…the majority of these reasons are due to extreme poverty around the world.
The U.N. development program estimates that the basic health and nutrition needs of the world’s poorest could be solved with $13 Billion dollars…to put this in some context…according to researchers....Americans spent over 95 Billion on their pets last year.
So in our world…if where we spend our money shows where our heart is (Which is what Jesus said money does…) then we care about our cats and dogs 10x more than we care about starvation....
MYTH #2: Care for the Poor Minimizes the Work of Evangelism
—this myth comes from the idea that people can be full of food and still go to hell—and while there is an element of truth to a statement like that…most of the areas where poverty is the greatest are also the least evangelized places on the planet.
John Piper said it this way: “Half of the least developed countries are also the least evangelized countries. The Other half have very few Christians. One study of poverty and spiritual need expressed this observation: The most dominant impression one gains from looking at the world in this way is that the poor are the lost and the lost are the poor.”
Martin Luther said it this way: “Next to the proclamation of the Gospel it is the task of a good pastor to be mindful of the poor.”
I would add that it isn't just the task of the good pastor…it’s the task of the Christian...
This about what all the apostles could have talked about in this meeting in Jerusalem--
They could have talked about church polity, doctrinal issues, worship styles, church budgets and buildings…but they chose to talk about the poor. WHY?
Because it is so obvious that it matters....
Deuteronomy 15:4 ESV
4 But there will be no poor among you; for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess—
Proverbs 31:8–9 ESV
8 Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31:20 ESV
20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
Proverbs 21:13 ESV
13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.
Jonathan Edwards said this: “This duty is absolutely commanded, and much insisted on, in the Word of God. Where have we any command in the Bible laid down in stronger terms, and in a more absolute urgent manner, than the command of giving to the poor.”
We aren't Social Justice Warriors when we care for the poor…we are just Christians...

How Not to Sell Out When We Reach Out

We Dont Compromise on the Message (v.3-5)
When we reach out…we have to contextualize...
Meaning that we have to communicate the gospel in a way that people can understand it.
We wouldnt go to subsaharan Africa and preach the gospel the same way we would to a person here in our culture.
The gospel is a message that has to be contextualized....
This is why the method of how we communicate the gospel has to be able to change.
In a really practical sense…this is the reason why evaluating our effectiveness as a church is something that we can never stop doing…we should always be willing to change our method if we ever find that we arent reaching people with the message.
However....even though methods have to change…the message never changes...
Look at what Paul says in verses 3-5.
Paul was unwilling to compromise the truth that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone....
And this is how we reach out without selling out.
We can hold our method of communicating the gospel with an open hand…always being willing to let go of any method that isnt effective. BUT we hold our message…the gospel…in a tight fist…the methods change…but the message never does....
When we are faced with someone who challenges our methods…we should be open.
When we are faced with someone who challenges our message....we should say with Paul, “to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved...”
Write this down: Peace only exists in the Church when there is doctrinal purity in the church. True Peace comes on account of the truth…not compromise...
This is not a popular statement in the 21st century.
We live in a world where standing up for the truth of the gospel means that we will be called bigoted, hateful, and arrogant. —> But peace will never come through compromise. PEACE WILL COME THROUGH A PERSON…JESUS...
WeSeek to Model an Undeniable Example (v. 7)
the second way we reach out without selling out is by living a life that is undeniably Gospel Centered...
Look at what Paul says in verse 7-8....
Paul told the Galatians that part of the reason why the church in Jerusalem believed that God was at work in Paul’s life was because they saw God’s work through his life.
Paul was noticeably Christian...
Let me ask you a question…would people say that you are noticeably Christian?
The way that you talk with people at work…the way you treat your family…the way we tip our waiters…the way we share the hope we have in Jesus…Is there anything noticeably evident about God’s work in your life that would make people automatically know that you believe the gospel?
There is only one person who has ever truly reached out without ever selling out...
Jesus came to give aid to the poor…both physically and spiritually.
He came to set sinners free from the impoverishment of sin.
He was uncompromising in his commitment to the truth. He never waivered…even till the point of his death on the cross.
Jesus modeled a life that gave us an undenialbe example of the Power of God at work...
What was that example? —>
That the Righteous and Holy God of heaven wants to redeem the spiritually poor and destitute…and that through faith in Him we can be forgiven and free…we can be saved...
Believe it this morning...
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