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More Than Lip Service

Galatians: SOAR! Faith Without Limits "The Gospel, Grace, Freedom"  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:17
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Have you ever been going strong in your Christian walk, and then you fall flat on your face… Again?

Today we are given an example of this. There was a man...
He boldly and emphatically declared rightly that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God!
Then... a few moment later Jesus looks at him and states “get thee behind me Satan”
This man gets out of a boat in the middle of a storm to walk on the water while 11 other men stay in the boat trembling in fear
Then… he looks at the waves and sinks!
This man declared before all present that he would be willing to die for Jesus...
Then… a few hours later he denies he even knows the man, scared, three times, even denies him before a servant girl!
This man… Peter (from Simon to Petra= rock )
He was an amazing man of God
He was seen making mistakes
He would mess up, but he wanted to be used by God
He boldly declared Christ at Pentecost
He would be beaten, imprisoned, flogged, and would die a martyrs death for Jesus
He would be the one who starts and lead the church in Jerusalem
He was the first to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the gentiles!!!
Peter, remember from last week, gave Paul and Barnabas the thumbs up and the right hand of fellowship concerning what they were teaching the gentiles!
Peter comes and joins Paul in Antioch
Fellowshiping freely with the brothers and sister there in Christ (many who were Gentile)
Then… Galatians 2:11-21
There is a great deal in this passage to look at, some of it is even a little difficult to take in at first glance.
I want to look at this passage in detail over two different times, but for today I want us to consider some questions we need to think through concerning what Paul is witting here to the Galatians.

Question 1

What harm was there with what Peter did?

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
Brennan Manning
Have you ever been around those who were legalistic? (you can become legalistic with just about anything)
You personally don’t believe it, yet when you get around them you begin to act like they do, hold to what they do, just so you don’t “look bad”
what happens when you get around two groups… who do you begin to look like?

There was harm in the fact that Peter was a hypocrite!

Peter wanted what he did to look like faithfulness to the scripture when in fact he is not being faithful but rather fearful!
Peter was lining up with those who said you need to be circumcised to be a real follower of Christ
Enjoying life with the gentiles until...
Knowing the truth, yet compromising for appearance

There is a harm with the division it brought!

Peter led others astray! When leaders stray others follow
This would put a wedge, division between gentile and Jew believers!
“aloof” = two groups
cliques, preference, hierarchy, legalism, all look to the external and divide the body of Christ
There was no more fellowship! he would not even eat with them… even Christ Himself ate with sinners AND Tax Collectors!
God is not about division but unity
When we begin to place our own personal expectations, rules legalism on people it causes nothing but division
I believe there was a unifying lesson learned in Antioch that day… the “New American Commentary” had this to say
It is not coincidental that believers in Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch. The designation of Palestinian believers as followers of “the Way” evidently was not transferred to the residents of Antioch who came to believe in Jesus as Messiah. Obviously a new reality had come into being with this new called-out company of Jews and Gentiles whose identity and self-definition centered neither in their Jewishness nor their Gentile character but rather in their common devotion to the one in whose name they shared a common meal. Thus they were called Christianoi, “the folks of Christ,” originally perhaps a term of derogation that soon came to be owned with pride by believers everywhere because it was so evidently appropriate.

There was the harm of false teaching!

Paul’s issue with what Peter did was NOT a personality or group identification issue
It was a “question of the Truth of the Gospel” being attacked and Paul was ready to fight and defend it!
Paul deals with this in a public setting because it had become a very public ,matter that needed dealt with and quick!
Paul calls Peter out and corrects him in Truth…Verses 15-21 is a solid argument for what Paul knew Peter knew as well.
There are times we may be corrected
All of us have given lip service to what we believe rather than put action to it
Peter still would hold Paul in high regard 2 Peter 3:14-16
2 Peter 3:14–16 NASB95
14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Peter has read what Paul is writing to the Galatians… in fact Peter’s letters would have gone to the same churches.

Question 2

Should we fear legalism and those who impose it?

Legalism is scary because any one of us can fall into it
Legalism is dangerous… at its core it takes away from what Christ did at Calvary
looks to the external while often ignoring the heart of the matter
wants to look at others, comparison, pride
There is a fine line when we teach living by God’s standard and legalism
Fear will only paralyze you in your walk with Christ, His Grace is freeing to live for Him in and walk in His Spirit
Legalism and those who impose it should not be feared, rather they need to be confronted and addressed!

Question 3

Did Christ die needlessly?

Paul here addresses for the first time the concept and word “Justified”
Justified is a legal term, borrowed from the law courts and means “to declare righteous.” Its opposite is “to condemn.
John 3:16-18 ESV
John 3:16–18 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
But since people are condemned sinners and God is holy, how can people be justified?
Paul makes a general declaration that negatively man is not justified by observing the Law, but positively, justification is by faith in Jesus Christ.
Justification is an act of God; it is not the result of man’s character or works.
Christ needed to do what He did because you and I were and are incapable of the standard of perfection God has.
Today we remember what Christ did, why He did it, in the act of obedience and remembrance of communion… a meal together as “Christians” the folks of Christ.
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