Galatians 2:6-10

Sunday Evening Service

April 24, 2005


Paul is writing to a group of churches which he had helped to establish.

After having established these churches, there were a group of teachers called "Judaizers" who came in and began spreading their own doctrines.

The Judaizers felt that a Gentile couldn't really be saved apart from first becoming a Jew.

They taught that after a person came to Jesus, they would have to then be circumcised, and begin to follow the Law of Moses.

To those who would teach a perversion of the gospel, Paul did not mince his words:

(Gal 1:9 NKJV) As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

We saw Paul begin to describe His conversion, and how it was totally a work of the Lord, no human hands involved.

After coming to the Lord, Paul didn't begin by enrolling in seminary, but went off to be with the Lord:

(Gal 1:17 NKJV) nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Last week we talked about how Paul’s testimony had been bringing glory to God. People all around had been blown away when they found out how God had been at work in Paul.



:6 But from those who seemed to be something; whatever they were,

(Gal 2:6 NLT) …(By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites.)

Paul is talking about the apostles and elders of the church in Jerusalem.

I think he has kind of a cute way of talking about them.

He’s not talking about them as if they had big heads or something, but only that they had pretty heavy reputations.

:6 it makes no difference to me;

It didn’t make any difference to Paul what a person’s reputation was.


Don’t be afraid of a reputation.

I’m not sure that I have this lesson down pat.
I have to admit that I think Chuck Smith is pretty special. If he were to walk in the room right now I’m sure I’d get all tongue tied.
But in God’s eyes, we’re all His kids.
When we show consideration for people's reputation, giving them special favors, we are showing partiality.
(James 2:1-9 NLT) My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others? {2} For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes. {3} If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, "You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor"--well, {4} doesn't this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives? {5} Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn't God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren't they the ones who will inherit the kingdom God promised to those who love him? {6} And yet, you insult the poor man! Isn't it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? {7} Aren't they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear? {8} Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord's royal command found in the Scriptures: "Love your neighbor as yourself." {9} But if you pay special attention to the rich, you are committing a sin, for you are guilty of breaking that law.

:6 God shows personal favoritism to no man;

God isn’t impressed with a person’s background or deeds.

When Peter was at Cornelius’ house, and the Holy Spirit came upon all those pagan, Gentile believers, he said,

(Acts 10:34 NKJV) Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.

Paul wrote,

(2 Cor 5:16-17 NKJV) Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. {17} Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
It’s not reputation that should impress us, it’s whether they know Jesus or not.

:6 for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.

In other words, when these “important” men got together to discuss Paul’s teachings, they couldn’t find anything wrong in them, nor could they come up with something that Paul had left out.

:7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter

The apostles could see that as clearly as God was using Peter with the Jews, God was also using Paul with the Gentiles.

:8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),

The same word is translated “wrought effectually” and “mighty”

energeo - to be operative, be at work, put forth power

Note: Paul doesn’t say, “I was able to work the same kind of miracles that Peter did...”

Paul knew where the power was coming from.

The same God that was working in Peter was working in Paul.

God had displayed miracles through Peter’s life, healing people, even raising people from the dead.

God also displayed miracles in Paul’s life as well.


The secret is to let God do the work!

It’s not in learning how to squeeze more hours out of the day.
It’s not in learning ten steps to successfully lead a person to Christ.
The secret to power in ministry is to let God be God, and you take the back seat.
You have the same power as Peter and Paul:
(Rom 8:11 NKJV) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
(Phil 2:13 NKJV) for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
If there’s a secret to power in ministry, it’s simply learning to get out of God’s way and let Him work!
(Zec 4:6 NKJV)  So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.

:9 and when James, Cephas, and John

These were the head honchos in Jerusalem at the time.

James - the head of the Jerusalem church, it’s pastor, was the half-brother of Jesus. This is not the James of the “inner three”, Peter, James, and John. That James was already dead, killed by Herod (Acts 12).

Cephas - Peter

John - the apostle John, author of the gospel.

:9 who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me,

Other people in the church considered them very, very important.

:9 they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship,

Kind of like forming a partnership with Paul and Barnabas, signifying that they were all in this together.

When I was in the Baptist church, they had a neat thing they would do with new members of the church, extending to them the “right hand of fellowship”, shaking the pastor’s hand, etc.

:9 that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

They realized that they had specialized ministries.


Know who you’re called to minister to.

It’s not hard for Christians to put each other on guilt trips.
When you hear some people speak about witnessing, you get the feeling that we should all be out on the street, handing out tracts, etc.
Those are valid ministries.
But there are other ones as well.
I believe that God has specific people that He calls us to minister to.
The enemy wants us distracted by getting involved in areas we shouldn’t be in.
And the ones we’re supposed to be ministering to go without.
We are all different parts of the same body, with different gifts, and different ways of applying those gifts:
(1 Cor 12:4-6 NKJV) There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. {5} There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. {6} And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
You may even have the same gifts as another person, called to the same group of people as another person, yet still have a different “effect” or “operation” of your gifts.
Be careful of comparing yourself with others.
Just know where God has called you, and what he’s called you to do.


You can read all about this first church council in Acts 15:1-29.

:10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

Here seems to be the only suggestion that the church in Jerusalem makes of the Gentile churches.

Which Paul and Barnabas had already done, in taking contributions to the poor in Judaea:

(Acts 11:28-30 NKJV) Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. {29} Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. {30} This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Paul later on would head up the collection of an offering to take to the poor in Jerusalem:

(1 Cor 16:1-3 NKJV) Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: {2} On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. {3} And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem.


Remember the poor.

The Bible has much to say about caring for the poor:
(Psa 41:1 NKJV) Blessed is he who considers the poor; The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.
(Prov 14:21 NKJV) He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.
(Prov 19:17 NKJV) He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given.