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Getting the Got Going Gospel

Grace and Power  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:27
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INTRO - Galatians is a book of grace; it is, also, about gospel-rooted living.
Up to now we’ve noted how this book speaks of the power of grace. Power of grace that led others to support another church in need. The power of grace demonstrated in the life of Paul. The power of grace to covert Titus and other Gentiles. The power of grace to bring opposing groups to work together to bring the Gospel to the world.
Grace and Power
Grace and power, we see, is needed for the gospel to move forward. God moves in our heart, we respond by taking the message to the world.
Last week we noted discussed gospel-rooted living. The person who wakes in the world has choice to shake off the world or step into the world. We noted our need for daily repentance and devotion.
ILL - Writing this introduction Monday morning didn’t start out easy. I spent at least an hour talking with God about all sorts of things. I didn’t wake singing, “Oh what a beautiful morning.” No, I woke with a great burden to pray for people. But, before I could do that I had to get myself focused on God and off the world; not always so easy.
Why does God allow us to suffer that way?
We noted that last week. God helps us to identify our spiritual poverty. I started Monday by practicing what I preached last Sunday. I admitted to God how I needed Him.
TRANS - This morning we’re exploring how we should live when knowing the truth of the good news about Jesus’ death and resurrection. This morning we’re going to discover what the Bible teaches about gospel-rooted living.
Paul is not shy when it comes to sharing and explaining the gospel. However, Paul’s purpose goes past simple explanation. Paul wants to ensure that the Galatians live the truth of the gospel. As today’s text notes, that they are “instep with the truth of the gospel” (v. 2:14).
Paul waits to give us the step-by-step stuff in chapter five. For now, in our passage, Paul chooses to describe how a person falls out of step with the gospel.
In our passage, Paul describes a terrible time that took place in his home church back in Antioch. Barnabas and Paul spent lots of time together ministering in Antioch. Sadly, they witnessed nearly the entire church falling out of step with the gospel and into hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is a real threat to the gospel. Our witness to the gospel is constantly under threat. It when we fail to lead gospel-rooted lives we fall into the trap of hypocrisy.
For you and I to stay faithful to the gospel, we need vigilantly fight against hypocrisy.
What does it say?
Galatians 2:11–14 NASB95PARA
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?
PRAY

How to Act out being a Hypocrite?

We toss the word hypocrisy around quite a bit. Political opponents often put it to pretty good use. It’s someone who fails to practice what they preach. But, we might want to be careful about that one. I often don’t live up to the “ideal” Christian and expect that you don’t always either.
HYPOCRITE — In English a hypocrite is one who deliberately and as a habit professes to be good when he is aware that he is not.
Hypocrite is a transliteration of hypokritēs, which mostly meant play-actor.
Behind a mask, the actor pretended to be someone or something else; they mask their true selves.
Acting then is what Paul sees Peter doing. Along with the Jews in Antioch, they cover up what they really believe about the gospel. Peter changed how he interacted with the Gentiles because of the “men from James” v.12 tells us. Prior to that, Peter and the Jews were eating with Gentiles and even sharing the Lord’s Table as one body.
Hypocrisy is more than failing to live up to what you believe, that is sin, but it’s not the sin of hypocrisy Paul is going off about. Paul us mad because they are covering up the gospel in this “other” situation.
When a believer plays the part of a non-believer it says the gospel is not real or doesn’t matter. That’s Peter’s sin.
We can all fail to live up to a standard. In part, that is what it means to struggle with sin. But, to know what is right and to intentionally cover that up is more like treachery. It’s like the husband that takes off his wedding band to pretend he is single. Its dishonest and disloyal.

What is required to become a Hypocrite?

Sure there are times when its tempting to play the hypocrite. Why did Peter do it? It had its advantages. The social pressure was too much? Fear of reprisal had something to do with it. Look again at v.12:
Galatians 2:12 NASB95PARA
For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.
See it “fearing the party” Peter did it because he was afraid. Peter knew they could punish him for breaking the cultic way or laws; he did something a “proper Jew” didn’t do. Peter didn’t want to be crucified with Christ for the Gentiles.
Recall we looked at people pleasers in chapter 1:10 and discovered they don’t make good servants for God? We see same thing in a different way in 2:11-14.
So, required is the willingness to people-please and maybe out of fear. In a difficult social situation, its tempting to put on a mask, to play the hypocrite. We’re tempted when worried, when feeling awkward, or when others might know the true us.
Remember this: the more willing you are to be crucified with Christ, the less likely you will be to become the hypocrite.

Why being a Hypocrite Hurts?

Moving on from seeing Peter condemned v.11 and realizing this act is treachery, how might it cause harm? Well, condemned means Peter was liable to God’s judgement. Seems Peter had a tendency to deny Jesus that was hard to shake.
Other than self, how might it hurt other people? How about when a parent or maybe pastor does something hypocritical? It can be the most damaging.
ILL - This past Tuesday I was discussing the sad matter of how churches are turning away sinners instead of calling them in and to Jesus. The pastor I spoke with shared a story that leads to some churches not letting people with sexual crimes in there past into the church. He shared how his children were sexually abused at a Christian camp. He shared how he understands the difficulty for a church to minister to the sexually tempted.
Think of hypocrisy as a virus. It needs human interaction to survive and then it spreads and thrives. In the right setting, it goes viral. That is what happened in Antioch. Look at what Paul said in v.13:
Galatians 2:13 NASB95PARA
The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.
The rest of the Jews joined him. Most people are easily infected by hypocrisy. A little exposure and the virus spreads.
But, yes there is hope, some have stronger resistance. For example, Barnabas was not infected, at least at first. By the end of the day it got him too.
Look at the spread, Peter, the Jews, then even Barnabas. But it was not to stop there. Look at v.14:
Galatians 2:14 NASB95PARA
But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?
Paul is saying it is so powerful that it was forcing Gentiles to “live like Jews.”
Our hypocrisy is powerful enough to harm other people. It does more than set a bad example. Hypocrisy in the church can compel people to stray from or avoid the gospel altogether.
This is a very sobering challenge for all of us. When we pretend like there is no gospel, it can infect other Christians and ultimately impact non-Christians and cause them to miss hearing the wonderful saving good news of Jesus.

Keeping the Course and Telling the Truth.

ILL - As a boy I often walked, trying to keep balance, on the curb along the road. As a young man I walked along the top of cement block walls filling the top layer with concrete. As a Christian, I continue to try to balance and not fall off.
The gospel requires balance. Staying balanced on the gospel entails not falling into sin on one side nor to the world on the other.

Three Things

First, look forward.

Don’t look down. Don’t worry about falling into hypocrisy. Fix your eyes forward, to the front, on Jesus.
Don’t look to the sides, who is watching, their expressions, their approval or disapproval. That will mess with your balance. Look at Jesus, look to the Father, look to the one who is pleased with you instead of pleasing everyone else.

Second, extend your hands.

Holding your arms out, hands extended, will help you stay balanced, stay in step with the truth. Hold out your hands for help; its what we did at first, ask for God’s help.
We need God and others. Sometimes we need to grab another believer to keep us from falling into hypocrisy. We need others to speak truth to us.

Third, trust you can stay balanced.

Focusing on how narrow the way will only set you up to fail. The way is narrow, the gate is not wide, but worrying about it will not help.
Once up, focus forward, hand extended, realize the one who went before you will help you walk in step with the truth of the gospel. Be confident in God’s grace and He will keep you.

Conclusion

But, what if we loose our step and fall?
What if we fall into hypocrisy like Peter?
Is there anything we can do?
The answer is “yes.”
Return to the truth of the gospel.
Recall Paul’s words which we’ll discuss when I come back from vacation and planning:
Galatians 2:16 NASB95PARA
nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
God justifies by faith. Go back to it. Go back, in faith, to God who justifies.
Samson, David, and many others fell into sin.
Job and Jeremiah cursed their birth.
Elijah and Jonah grew tired and prayed to die.
Sins of the saints, those troubled and desperate, find comfort returning to God.
No one has ever fallen so far where, when given the hand of God, can’t once again stand.
If Peter could stand again, so can you.
We are feeble and frail and even the best of us is no more than one step from stupid.
Who here can claim to have stronger sense of right than Peter?
So we see that our own abilities and holiness is not enough.
(end)
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