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Galatians 2.11-21

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The Gospel was at stake for Paul in his rebuke of Peter.

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As we continue journeying through the book of Galatians, we have seen how important the Gospel message is to the apostle Paul and the great lengths that Paul endured to protect and preserve the Gospel message. Last week, we concluded our section on Paul’s meeting in Jerusalem with the truth of the Gospel preserved and the right hand of fellowship extended to Paul and Barnabas by the Jerusalem Pillars. We are left with this ‘SuperTeam’ created of ministers of the Gospel where Peter, John, and James are focused on the ministry to the jews and Paul and Barnabas are sent out to the gentiles or Non-jews [anyone else who was not a jew].
So, the issue that Paul has been dealing with so far is the ‘Galatians’ wavering of the faith over a false gospel being taught by ‘false brothers’ that focused on a type of Legalism that says that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not sufficient enough to save, is not sufficient enough for the Gentiles to be included in the people of God, and that these Judaizers are saying ‘they need to become like us’, they need to observe our laws, and they need to be circumcised.
This was dangerous to the church and to Paul because even though the behavior of the people could have been right, meaning they were ‘well-meaning’, and wanted to follow based on obedience, if they are obeying and believing in wrong theology and teaching , it is all for naught. So Paul’s focus was correcting this false teaching and correcting the wrong theology.
TRANSITION:
But what if you were put in a situation where you believed in the right and correct theology, but the behavior of the people did not line up with that theology. We’ve all been there, we are sinners, we are going to fall short and even though our systematic theology could be correct, our practical theology [the living out of what we believe] will sometimes fall short.
And in our passage today, we have a situation where Paul deals with a brother whose theology was correct, [he isn’t correcting‘false teaching’ anymore] but now he deals with a brother whose theology is correct, but the brother’s actions were not in line with the Gospel and in fact sinful. Thus it was hurting the rest of the church and leading them astray.
But this isn’t any ordinary brother that Paul has to deal with and correct in our text, it is Peter. An important figure in the early church, and a prominent figure of authority and leadership. This is the guy who Paul has to correct, but Paul is not afraid of having to confront Peter and he is not concerned with the consequences of confronting him he is concerned with the ramifications of Peter’s hypocrisy.
So here we are in our text with Paul confronting Peter and Paul sharing to us the importance of having a right behavior to match a right theology. We are going to focus on that aspect in our sermon, why is it important that we live our lives in a manner that matches the theology or more importantly the Gospel that we believe.
So to give us a road map of our text, we are going to focus on v.11-14 on why we as a church should prioritize “Living in Line with the truth of the Gospel” and we will talk about the implications of us not living in line with the truths of the gospel, and we will key in on some applications for us a church to think through, and wrestle with together.
Walk in line with truths of the Gospel [Ch. 2.11-14
Galatians 2:11–14 ESV
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
11 But when Cephas[d] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned.[e] 12 For he regularly ate with the Gentiles before certain men came from James. However, when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, because he feared those from the circumcision party. 13 Then the rest of the Jews joined his hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were deviating from the truth of the gospel, I told Cephas[f] in front of everyone, “If you, who are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel Gentiles to live like Jews?” [CSB]
In v.11, we have Peter [Cephas] going to Antioch which is a province in Galatia, and we have Paul coming in with [full-force], coming in like Gang-busters to confront Peter. I imagine Paul kicking a door in or doing something emphatic where everyone around is like “whoa this apostle means business”, and he does. Paul comes and confronts Peter on an issue in regards to Peter’s table manners.
I imagine Paul kicking a door in or doing something emphatic where everyone around is like “whoa this apostle means business”, and he does. Paul comes and confronts Peter on an issue in regards to Peter’s table manners.
Paul is saying “Hey Peter! Hey brother, you have been in Antioch for a while now and I have seen you hanging out with our Non-jewish brothers, and you have been eating with them. But now that James has sent some people over here, you have separated yourself from the Gentiles, and now that you have done that, since you’re a man of influence, the rest of the Christian Jews in Antioch have followed your behavior, and not just them, even Barnabas. What are you doing Peter?”
We have Peter in our text drawing away and separating himself from the gentiles now that Jewish christians have come to Antioch. All this, because he fears the circumcision party [how he would be thought of by all jews].
Whenever I read this text, it makes me think of the TV show FRIENDS. There was this scene in the first 2-3 seasons where Joey is working at the Museum with Ross [a palentologist], and during lunch Joey saves a seat for Ross, but Ross chooses to sit with the fellow palentologists in fear of what they would say or think. Ross was afraid of what the other paleontologists would think if he sat with Joey. He was dealing with fear of man. This leads us to our first application, that:
If you are a 1st century jew at the time it would be very uncommon to see one of your own [a fellow jew] eating with Gentiles. But in our text, we have Peter eating with Gentiles, and in our text it says that he did this regularly. But once Peter heard that people from the circumcision party were coming he stopped. He separated himself from them.
1. Living in line with the truth of the Gospel means we: fear against straying from the Gospel rather than fear of man
Galatians 4:6 ESV
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
In here we have Paul confronting Peter, and in Paul’s confrontation of Peter, just like in v.1-10, he is not worried about who Peter is but more concerned of the implications and consequences of Peter’s actions and what they have in regards to the Gospel. Paul is essentially saying here that “Peter, your actions are not just sin and excluding others, but they are against the gospel, and causing others to deviate from the truth of the Gospel.” We may be asking now, how does Peter’s actions go against the Gospel? Isn’t he just choosing to sit with the jews, and not the gentiles. “I understand that’s wrong but not necessarily deviating from the Gospel.” In order for us to understand the implications of Peter’s actions, we need to give some context of this man named Peter.
So if you understand a little history of Peter. We know that he is an apostle. We know that he is a passionate person, and this zeal and passion have gotten himself in trouble in the past.
When Jesus was betrayed and arrested, Peter drew his sword and cut off one Malchus’ ear [a servant and guard of the high priest]
We also know Peter as the disciple who denied Jesus three times
But I want to specifically point to :1-47
Acts 10:9–16 ESV
The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
Acts 10 ESV
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.” And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.” And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
Acts 10:9–16 ESV
The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
So Peter receives this vision from God, where God tells him to rise and eat of all types of meat. This is certainly in reference to the ‘clean laws’ in Levititus 11. And these clean laws were a a series of rules and regulations that the nation of Israel were to follow in order to be ‘ceremonially clean’. People could not draw near to God if they ate of certain ‘unclean’ foods including: pork. Not only that, in these ‘clean laws’ in Leviticus, you could not touch dead things, pretty much anything that was seen as ‘unclean’. These laws were supposed to point his people to the fact that a sinful people cannot come before the presence of a holy God without cleansing.
Jesus, however comes to abolish these laws. and specifically makes note of these specific laws in
Walking in Line with the truths of the Gospel means we oppose any and every type of racism
Mark 7:14–23 ESV
And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
So in , God sends Peter a vision to show him that these laws had been abolished, and he meets with a Gentile man named Cornelius who ends up being saved. Peter realizes that not only are these previously unclean foods now clean, but that the Gospel is no longer for jew only but for everyone []
Acts 10 ESV
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.” And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.” And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
Acts 10:34–35 ESV
So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
Acts 10:34–35 ESV
So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
So here in , Peter understands the effects of the Gospel’s reach to all people even so, that in Chapter 11, we have a similar situation where Peter is confronted by Jews in Jerusalem and they said to him “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them”, and Peter in chapter 11 defends his actions of eating with Gentiles and defends the truth that the Gospel is for everybody.
But what’s confusing now is Peter’s actions in Galatians. He was eating with the Gentiles here, and he also ate with them in . It’s safe also to say that if Peter ate with the gentiles here in the book of Galatians, he is likely not observing OT food laws. If Peter is eating with Gentiles, and the Gentiles are over here eating pork, Peter is likely also eating pork [remember he had the vision that these previously unclean meat was now free to eat].
So when Peter stops eating with the Gentiles, he does this because of fear of man. [Fear of the circumcision party and what they would say.] It is not like Peter once again believed that he should not eat of these type of meats or not eat with the Gentiles, he held the same conviction, his theology did not change, but he was hypocritical in his actions and feared men and let that fear dictate his actions.
Peter’s withdrawal was not prompted by a change in theology, he was spurred on a fear of jewish men, and these men were likely unbelieving Jews who were persecuting Christians. These men that James sent probably had told Peter that the persecution against Christians from the Jewish party was getting stronger thus leading to Peter’s actions.
Peter was likely scared of this coming persecution, and he not only was trying to protect himself by not being seen eating with the gentiles, but also he didn’t want to be seen eating their food. Thus he was letting this circumcision party know that he still adhered to the OT ceremonial laws.
But Peter did not see what Paul saw in regards to Peter’s actions. He needed to talk to Peter because in v.14 he saw that Peter’s actions actually “deviated from the truth of the Gospel”. Paul’s rebuke against Peter reveals something that Peter may have not thought through when he was making this decision, that in Peter’s rejection of Gentiles and also seemingly going back to OT food laws, Peter was actually sending a message that imposing these food laws on the Gentiles is the same thing as the Judaizers imposing circumcision on Titus in the first 10 verses in chapter 2.
For Paul, the gospel was at stake, Peter was in a sense implying that Gentiles needed to adhere to the same food laws as well to be saved. Hence that is why Paul says that Peter is deviating from the truths of the Gospel.
Peter’s change of behavior was sending a message that these Gentiles had to live like Jews in order to become a part of the people of God.
There is a danger in Peter’s actions. He is not like a ‘false brother’ who wants to add and change the Gospel message, Peter believed in the right Gospel, but his actions were not in line with the Gospel, he was a hypocrite and Paul needed to let him know of this.
Maybe you are in the line of thinking, I get that Peter needed to be rebuked but why did Paul need to do it in public in front of other people. Doesn’t the process of church discipline apply here:
Matthew 18:15 ESV
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
The reason Paul does this publicly, and the reason it needed to be done publicly because Peter’s sin was done in a public sphere, and it had public ramifications and it had impact on other Christians and other people. A public rebuke was necessary for Paul to address to Peter. In doing this, Paul made once again of first importance the protection of the Gospel, even if it comes at the expense of Peter.
Application for CBF as we think through correction and rebuke:
This passage goes against the thinking that correcting someone is not-loving or not Christian, or the belief that “only God can judge me”. If someone is claiming to be a Christian and sin is prevalent in their life, there is a place for correction and rebuke.
But why do we not lovingly correct each other, or church members who need correction in our church?
Do we hesitate to correct each other because we think we are sinners too, who am I to judge?
Matthew 7:2–5 ESV
For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:3 ESV
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Matthew 7:2–3 ESV
For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
God calls us to restore others gently, we take the logs out of our own eyes, helping us to repent of our own sins, but we still gently call those who have wandered to come home.
Our culture defines love as not correcting and leaving others and letting them be, but we see that the Bible teaches that love has the courage to confront, and when we rebuke others, our desire is their holiness and their joy to be made complete in Christ not in the sin that casts them astray.
Proverbs 10:17 ESV
Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
Paul’s rebuke of Peter was not Paul angry at Peter but a loving action of Paul for the sake of the Gospel and to correct Peter whose actions had strayed him away from the Gospel.
We have no reason to believe that Peter took this correction in a sinful manner, we are to believe that Peter repented and took this rebuke in love. Peter understood the Gospel and he knew his actions were wrong.
Closing application of Point 1: It is not just important to have the right belief of the Gospel, but we need to live in line with the truth of the Gospel. So we do not fear man, even though persecution or suffering can happen, but we fear the thought of straying away from the Gospel. We must cling to the truths and hope of the Gospel and protect its message at all costs, even if we have to rebuke others in love. Now we transition to our 2nd application, an application that I admit I am no expert in but hoping that we as a church see the need to grow in that...
Closing application of Point 1:
2. Living in line with the truth of the Gospel means we oppose every type of racism
Not only was Peter’s separating himself considered a straying of, and hypocritical to the Gospel that he believes. Peter’s distancing himself from the Gospel was a racist act. He went back to an oppression of anyone who was not considered a Jew by siding with the circumcision party.
Not only was their fear of ‘the circumcision party’s’ response to his eating with the gentiles, but his separating himself from the gentiles and his actions imply that the gentiles needed to become like the Jews. It was a statement to the gentiles that you are not the people of God, we are the better people, and you need to become like us in order to be pleasing to God.
Jewish people at the time have been ingrained in their thinking that ‘gentiles were unclean’. Peter by his actions were allowing cultural differences to become more important than gospel unity.
even though Peter receives the vision in , Peter by his actions is not opposing racism but actually contributing to it.
We see here that contributing to racism doesn’t have to be a vigilant opposition to a certain ethnicity, and we as Christians in our society may not think that we are racist in our actions but even being neutral to the oppression of other ethnicities is something that we as individuals, and us as a church need to repent and ask God’s grace to grow in loving those who have been oppressed.
The truth of the Gospel changes us and should have implications for all of life and it is our job to bring everything in our lives in line with the Gospel, and we have to also see the Gospel is opposed to our society’s line of thinking. But since we live in this world, we have to come to the realization that we have embraced certain aspects of our societies’ ideals and beliefs. But we need to fight this thinking off: We fight it off with the Gospel.
“Christian living is therefore a continual realignment process -one of bringing everything in line with the truth of the Gospel” - Tim Keller
We are living in a time where racism continues to still exist, and we must first come to the realization that as sinners that are flawed, there are racial tendencies that we have that we need to counter with the Gospel. The Gospel that Paul says in allows us to say that:
Galatians 3:28 ESV
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
So how can we grow as a church in opposing racism?
So how can we grow as a church in opposing racism?
First come to the acknowledgement that it still exists.
Secondly, look into your actions and see which aspects of your life need to be countered with the Gospel.
Third, be sensitive to the oppressed, listen and get informed.
I’ve come to the realization that I am not knowledgeable as I ought to and need to continue to learn and grow. I had a really helpful conversation with Danny on Friday about how to think through the racism that is prevalent in our country and it was really helpful for me and I look forward to continue to grow and be informed. Hopefully we as a church humble ourselves and desire to listen and get informed as well.
Gospel to the Non-Christian: Biblical Christianity is not a system of beliefs that one ethnicity is better than the other, it is not a system of beliefs that says we need to conform to a certain ethnicities’ customs or to try to make one ethnicity like the other. Biblical Christianity states that the God of this universe creates us all equally in his image and desires for all people to come to faith and to know Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, makes us a new creation, a new people. A people not founded on the color of their skin, the things they do, or their place in society, but they are made a people through Christ and what Christ has done for them. Jesus reconciles a sinful humanity to himself by dying for their sins [the sins that have separated humanity from a holy God] and takes the full wrath of God all because Jesus loves us. Jesus victoriously and triumphantly defeats death and sin by resurrecting from the dead, and Jesus is now calling you to place your faith in Him and repent of your sins and He will save you from those sins. For those in Christ, God welcomes them and adopts them into His family, and makes them His people. A people not marked by the color of their skin but marked by the blood of Christ that was shed for them.
The Gospel unites ‘All people’, Jew and Gentiles to Christ, and the Gospel has no room for racism of any type even the type that Peter exhibited. We need to oppose
any and every type of racism. Next, we need to see that Living in line with the truth of the Gospel means that we understand that our sin affects others.
3. Living in line with the truth of the Gospel means we understand that our sin affects others
Walking in line with the truths of the Gospel means we understand the consequences of sin
One of the lies that satan tries to tell us in regards to our sin, is that our sin only affects the individual sinning. But we have probably seen the way our sin has affected our loved ones in our lives. I have personally seen sin in my life affect my wife.
effect on people around you
Parents, you would likely agree that your sin has affected your kids to a certain extent.
Our sin always has affects on others, and also affects the church.
But we see the effects of sin on others scripturally as well.
It was the sin of one person -Adam, where sin entered the world, and caused all of man to have a sinful nature.
And we see the extents of Peter’s sin here that because of his influence among people that the rest of the Jews followed alongside his hypocrisy, and not just them but Barnabas as well. The same Barnabas who was Paul’s partner in ministry, and whose main ministry was to the Gentiles, ended up following Peter’s example and separating from them. Paul’s rebuke was necessary for Peter and the rest of the people he influenced to draw them back to the truth of the Gospel.
Church family, our sin will affect others and we ultimately cannot hide it. Feel free to run to the kindness of God’s mercy that leads us to repentance. And ultimately, this was Paul’s goal in rebuking of Peter. He spoke of God’s mercy and grace in Peter’s life in reminding him of the truth of the Gospel to draw him back to repentance. Thus we need to see that living in line with the truths of the Gospel means that we remind each other of the Gospel.
4. Live in line with the truth of the Gospel means we remind each other of the Gospel
Walking in line with the truths of the Gospel means we remind ourselves of the Gospel
Galatians 2:14 ESV
But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Galatians 2:14 ESV
But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Paul in his rebuke to Peter is asking Peter, “Hey Peter, you’re a jew who is used to adhere to these levitical laws that Christ abolished, and now that you’ve been in Christ you’ve been living like a Gentile in that you have seen that these laws do not apply to those in Christ, and that we have been freed from the law and been made alive to Christ, why then are you reverting back to making the gentiles now live like the jews and put them under the law”
Paul is saying, “Peter you’ve been living free like a Gentile for a while now, and why are you now reverting back to your old ways because of fear”
But, we see here that in doing this, Paul is actually reminding Peter of the truth of the Gospel and the benefits of being in Christ.
Peter, why are you reverting back, don’t you know what you have in Jesus?”
This text springboards onto one of the best passages in the bible in which we will talk about next week that speak of our status and justification before God because of faith in Christ.
Paul was using the Gospel message to rebuke Peter in hope that Peter would remember what the Gospel provides for him and what a treasure he has in Christ.
When we stray away from the Gospel in our actions, what we need the most at that moment is the Gospel message that we are straying from.
CBF Application: CBF, as we consider living in line with the Gospel message in all aspects of our life, the Gospel message has to be at the center of the way we live and we are going to need to be reminded of the Gospel and we are going to need others to point us to the Gospel. We need to remind each other of the truth that we were eternally damned before God because of sin, we had no hope apart from Christ.
in DNA groups, we need to remind each other of the Gospel
in Care Groups, we need to remind each other of the Gospel
at birthday parties, we need to remind each other of the Gospel
In hospital beds, we need to remind each other of the Gospel
In rebuking and correcting others we need to remind each other of the Gospel.
We continue to preach Christ on this pulpit in hopes that you preach Christ Christ to yourself as you live the Christian life, and in hopes that you preach Christ to each other knowing that the Gospel is not only what we need to cling to in salvation, but it is what we cling to throughout the Christian life.
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