Monday, January 26, 2009

Fool Me Once Shame on You

Please read Galatians 2:1-10. "This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." Paul's first fight for Christian liberty was at the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:1-35). His second was at a private meeting with Peter (Gal. 2:11-21). Because of Paul's courage, the Gospel was kept free from legalism, and it was carried to the Gentiles with great blessing. We must get acquainted with the participants. 1. Barnabas-son of encouragement. 2. Titus-a Gentile believer. 3. Peter, James, and John are the pillars of the Church in Jerusalem. Remember Peter was given the keys. James was the half brother of Jesus and pastor of the Jerusalem Church. Note the three acts in this drama. I. Act 1-the private consultation. Jewish legalists were teaching that a Gentile had to become a Jew before he could become a Christian (Acts 15:1). They taught that submitting to circumcision meant accepting and obeying the whole Jewish law. When Paul and Barnabas confronted these men the result was a heated argument (Acts 15:2). Thus the Jerusalem conference was held. The result was the Apostles and Elders approved Paul's Gospel (Gal. 2:6b), and thereby declared the Judaizers to be wrong. II. Act 2-the public convocation. The first witness was Peter. He makes it clear that there is but one way of salvation: faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 15:7-11). Next Paul and Barnabas told what God had done among the Gentiles (Acts 15:12). Titus, uncircumcised, became a "Test case" (Acts 15:1). James gave the summation of the arguments and the conclusion of the matter (Acts 15:13-21). Paul won. Paul's concern was "The truth of the Gospel," not the Peace of the church." The wisdom that God sends from above is "First pure, then peaceable" (James 3:17). III Act 3-the personal confirmation. The assembly recognized publicly that God had committed the Gentile aspect of His work into Paul's hands. Peter and Paul preached the same Gospel. Paul explained his independence from the apostles then he points out his interdependence with the apostles. In this passage we then move from the Theological to the practical-helping the poor. Correct doctrine is never a substitute for Christian duty (James 2:14-26). Right teaching results in right living. Are you enjoying your freedom in Christ? "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and don't be entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1). Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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