Thursday, August 22, 2019

2019.08.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Galatians 2:1-10

Questions for Littles: How long was it between Galatians 1:24 and  Galatians 2:1? Where did Paul go? With whom? Whom did they take? What had caused them to go up (Galatians 2:2)? What did Paul communicate to them? In what setting? What was he proving not to have been the case? What did those of reputation (cf. Galatians 2:9) not do to Titus (Galatians 2:3)? What were his enemies called in Galatians 2:4? What kind of strategy had they employed? What were they trying to do? What did Paul not do for even an hour (Galatians 2:5)? Why? What does Paul call the apostles in Galatians 2:6? What did they add to him? What did they see (Galatians 2:7)? To how many gospels does Galatians 2:7-9 refer? How many destinations? What did they desire? Why wasn’t even this adding anything?
There is only, only, only one gospel. And those who mess it up bring themselves and their followers into slavery. Paul had received some kind of revelation (Galatians 2:2) that this needed to be demonstrated and defended, so he goes up to Jerusalem. This was not a necessary “check-up” for him—after all, he’d already been ministering this gospel for 14 years at this point! Rather, it was a necessary defense against the enemies of the gospel.

Notice these enemies. Notice that they came from within the church. These are always the most dangerous men. The ones who are called brothers, and appear to be brothers, but as Galatians 2:4 says, this name and appearance is false. Notice that their strategies are ruthless. They are brought in secretly. They come in by stealth. They have no problem lying, acting, and manipulating situations.

Sometimes, we hear that those with sound theology need to develop equivalent tactics to the enemies of the gospel. God forbid! Notice that the enemies desire to force others into submission. What Paul refuses in strategy, he more than makes up for in backbone. May the Lord sustain His faithful never to yield even for an hour!

Notice what is at stake. The truth of the gospel. The good of the church. These are the same thing. It’s not like the apostle is navigating the doctrinal controversy in order to get back to the good of the church. “that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” IS the good of the church!

Ultimately, the point of Galatians 2:6-10 is that there cannot be more than one gospel, because there is only one God. It is His gospel, and His mission. The difference is not in doctrine, but in destination. Here is the ultimate biblical opportunity to emphasis contextualizing the message, but the Holy Spirit does exactly the opposite. The message doesn’t change for its context; it changes people from every context. Christ is what circumcision looks forward to. And when He gets hold of a Gentile, He does not demand that Jewish shadows be inflicted upon him. Rather, He transforms him into a brother of sacrificial love toward every believer, Jew or Gentile!
If getting theology correct is so important, what choices do you need to be making about how you spend time, and to what efforts you devote yourself?
Suggested songs: ARP117B “O, All You Nations” or TPH461 “Blessed Are the Sons of God”

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