Galatians 1 & 2
Galatians 2022 • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 45:24
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Galatians 1 & 2
Galatians 1 & 2
Good morning church, open your Bible’s with me to Philippians 1, no, I’m kidding, you guys finished chapter one didn’t you? Open with me to Galatians, small little book right after 2 Corinthians. Very excited to be starting another book with you this morning church. If you don’t normally attend here, it is our practice to teach through this book, cover to cover, verse by verse, as we believe it is the source of all wisdom and truth. Pastor Jim, the guy with the matching forehead to me is teaching through Philippians as he has opportunity to teach, and we just finished 2 Corinthians, so as we turn the age from that book, we begin Galatians.
We have a couple more weeks of Growth Groups as Nicole explained in announcements and then we will resume our midweek study on Wednesday evenings with a fellowship supper at 6 pm, on July 6th, our service will begin promptly at 6:30 pm, and we will begin the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah. If you want to do some preparation for that study to help you understand the context of these writings. Isaiah ministered from roughly 740-680 B.C. This period of Israel’s history is told in 2 Kings 15-21 and 2 Chronicles 26-33.
The letter we have this morning is a little different than the other letters of Paul. There is not a warm greeting, not an introduction of all those that are with him, not even a prayer for the recipient's well being. In a sense this is an angry little letter, and for good cause. Paul doesn’t give much of an introduction, so neither will I, maybe just a little bit of history...
Well, at risk of stirring up anger and wrath this morning, have any of you found yourselves getting frustrated at all, or maybe you’ve sensed frustration kind of building since early in 2020? I’m not getting political here, or opening doors to throw pandemic darts. Perhaps you own a vehicle and have had to fill up your tank recently, or buy baby formula,... maybe you’ve checked the status of your 401K and realized it’s now a 201K. Many people today are finding that what used to just role off their backs, is starting to dig in. They find themselves questioning with each new thing, is it time to fight, time to stop submitting to the governing authorities, time to throw some blows, and stand for what is right.
The list of things that Paul endured for the sake of the gospel is humbling when we consider some of the things that we whine about. Shipwrecked, hit with whips, stoned with rocks, the list is extensive and sounds painful, discouraging, and enough to make most of us quit, but not Paul. He was thankful to be able to suffer for the sake of Christ....but here, now, Paul draws a line and says there are some things worth fighting for. Do you know what that was? Grace. Paul, formerly Saul, a legalistic Pharaohs, and teacher of the law, Was not longer under the law, he was saved and free in Christ, in the simplicity of Jesus and he preached.
Paul knew that you weren’t saved by doing all of the right things and avoiding enough of the bad things. He wrote to the Ephesian church. Eph 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Saved by grace through faith. Paul was frustrated here. Churches were being planted, Both Jews and Gentiles were being saved, but there was a problem in several of these young churches, we saw it in the Corinthian church as well. Men would come in who were known as the Judaizers, their offense is found in the name that they were called. They were a group of Jewish men, professing Christians, who did not deny salvation to the Gentiles, they just said that before they could be saved, they first had to become Jews, follow Jewish law, eat kosher, and do what Jewish men did on the 8th day after they were born, be circumcised. Circumcision was fairly unique to the Jews, it was the mark that identified them as God’s chosen people all the way back in Genesis 17, the first book in the Bible.
Paul had a problem with this, because Jesus fulfilled the law. Paul knew we were saved by grace, not by works, including circumcision, and he had had enough. So he begins this letter.
1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead),
Those are pretty good credentials! Most often, if someone wants to go into ministry, just ministry, not to declare themselves an apostle, but they have aspirations to become a pastor or a priest, they are instructed to go to seminary. Go and study, and get a group of men to certify that you have met their criteria. Then meet with your denominational board, your Bishop, or the cardinal, and get their approval. Go then to a local church or parish and see if the group of people their will recognize you as their leader or minister, and then men will lay their hands on you…giving you an apostolic endorsement or their ordination, presuming that Peter laid hands on young pastors, and that line of succession has continued to be passed on to today.
There are different weird variations of that, and their is some good reason to have some oversight, to be a man under authority. But we believe, like Paul, that if God has not ordained you to the ministry, you can meet any criteria that man may require, but there won’t be fruit in your ministry. But with Paul it was different, he was made an apostle directly by the Lord. He was not seeking it, he was a Jew, a Pharisee, a highly respected teacher of the law, Saul of Tarsus. He was a persecutor of Christians.
A couple of quick passages from the book of Acts, we read that Saul was present and consenting to the death of Stephen, the very first Christian put to death for their faith in Jesus, the Messiah. Then we see Acts 8:3
3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
Why? Because they were Christians, people that believed that Jesus was the Messiah the Jews were still looking for. In Acts 9:1-3
1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
That light was Jesus, that light blinded Paul temporarily and Jesus identifies Himself and asks Saul why he is persecuting Him! The Lord then appears in a vision to a man in Damascus named Ananias God tells Ananias that Saul of Tarsus has been praying and is coming, and he should go look for him. Ananias is like, thanks for the warning, Saul is a scary dude…wait what? You want me to do what? Acts 9:13-16
13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
So Paul could rightly say, I am an Apostle not of men, but through Jesus Christ. Gal 1:2-5
2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
Paul who used to be all about the law, knew that the good news of Christ was grace, in fact later in the book of Acts Paul wrote, Acts 20:24
24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
Paul is willing to fight to keep anybody from robbing the church of grace. Putting Christians under bondage of anything beyond the gospel of Jesus. Paul says, I don’t care who it is…Gal 1:8-10
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
You simply can’t be both. Gal 1:11-14
11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)
All the the Old Testament passages about Jesus were reveal to him. When I said Paul was a teacher of the law, understand that a Pharisee was to memorize the books of the law, the first five books in your bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy commited to memory! Gal 1:21-24
21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God in me.
1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
So this was I believe before the Jerusalem counsel that we see near the end of Acts 15 where Paul and others gathered to discuss what to do with all the gentiles converting to Christ and they then officially decided..."28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell." - Acts 15:28-29 NKJV
So Titus who was a Greek Christian felt no compulsion under grace to be circumcised, and certainly wasn’t going to do that just because some legalist was demanding it of him. Gal 2:4-6
4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6 But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.
7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.
11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?
15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. 17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!
Just because we are under grace and still at times fall into sin, that does not make Christ a minister of sin. Gal 2:18-21
18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”