PASTOR DON'S CHRISTIAN ED NOTES
It is a Lack of Love that Makes One Indifferent About Gospel Truth
Print This Sermon
Sunday, October 25, 2009 -

Galatians 2:1-10 - “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. [3] But 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— [5] to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. [6] And 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. [7] On 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), [9] and 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. [10] Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”

1) IN ORDER TO DEMONSTRATE THE GENUINENESS OF HIS GOSPEL MESSAGE, PAUL SUBMITS HIS MESSAGE AND HIS MINISTRY TO THE APOSTLES AT JERUSALEM

Galatians 2:1-2 - “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.”

To retrace, Paul said both his calling and his message were of supernatural origin (1:1,12). But he still wanted his mission to be endorsed by the local churches. He did not want to be a freelancer in ministry. Once he had established the unique, independent reception of his ministry (to establish his validity as a true apostle) he was happy to submit it to the leadership of the church at Jerusalem. Paul continued to work closely with local churches throughout his missionary enterprises - Acts13:1-3 - “Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. [2] While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." [3] Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” See also Acts 16:4-5.

2) THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NEVER ENCOURAGE COMPROMISE WITH REVEALED GOSPEL TRUTH

Notice again that Paul presses the point that he was constrained by “revelation” to go up to Jerusalem to meet the apostles there (2:2). His trip wasn’t to protect his own pride. It was not mere religious stubbornness. This trip to Jerusalem was divinely orchestrated by the Spirit of God to preserve and protect the gospel message for those who were yet to hear it - 2:5 - “....to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.”

3) PAUL TOOK TITUS WITH HIM TO LAY THE ISSUE OF HIS GOSPEL MESSAGE CLEARLY ON THE LINE

Galatians 2:3-5 - “But 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— [5] to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.”

Paul doesn’t have to bring Titus just to win an argument. He is intelligent enough to present his thoughts effectively on his own. Titus is his case study. Titis is a Gentile who has been saved by faith in Christ plus nothing else. Titus is Paul’s way of showing these people that doctrine is never merely an academic pursuit. Contending for truth is contending for people. Titus was only one of many thousands of lives saved by the gospel Paul was defending.

4) THIS PASSAGE IS IMPORTANT FOR ITS TESTIMONY TO A UNITED FRONT OF APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY

Galatians 2:6-10 - “And 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. [7] On 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), [9] and 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. [10] Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”

Paul specifically names Peter, James and John as endorsing and supporting his gospel and ministry. This is important because there are some who say James and Paul present two different gospel messages (Paul, one of grace, and James, one of works). But this is clearly not the case. James heard and saw Paul’s presentation of the gospel and endorsed it fully.

Paul’s summary remarks of this important meeting are twofold. Negatively, he says they “contributed nothing to me”(6). That means they saw no need to supplement Paul’s gospel. It was not deficient or lacking. Positively, Paul said the other apostles blessed and encouraged his missionary outreach. Verses 7-10 make clear that these apostles would reach out to different audiences (Paul, the Gentiles and the other apostles, the Jews). But the content of their message was exactly the same. Then, as now, there is only one Name under heaven by which we must be saved.