Galatians 2:14

Sunday Evening Service

May 8, 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, teaching the young Gentile believers that they needed to become Jewish and become circumcised before they were really saved.

Paul has been relating a story about Peter’s visit to the Gentile church at Antioch.

(Gal 2:11-13 NLT)  But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him publicly, speaking strongly against what he was doing, for it was very wrong. {12} When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who don't bother with circumcision. But afterward, when some Jewish friends of James came, Peter wouldn't eat with the Gentiles anymore because he was afraid of what these legalists would say. {13} Then the other Jewish Christians followed Peter's hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was influenced to join them in their hypocrisy.

:14 Relationships in church

:14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel

straightforwardorthopodeo – to walk in a straight course; metaph. to act uprightly

KJV has “walked not uprightly”, NIV – “they were not walking in line”

The truth of the gospel is that salvation comes only by trusting in Jesus.

This alone is what makes a person clean or worthy before the Lord, not circumcision.

And yet these Jewish believers were applying their old Pharisee ways to the Christian believer, separating themselves from these Gentile believers because they felt that they were going to somehow be “contaminated” by them.


Who to hang with

Look at the example of Jesus Himself:
(Mark 2:13-17 NKJV) Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. {14} As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him. {15} Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi's house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. {16} And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, "How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?" {17} When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
Jesus was criticized by the Pharisees because He ate with "sinners".
Yet those are the people that need to be reached.
He didn’t hang out with sinners because He needed friends or needed to find a group to belong to.
He hung out with sinners in order to reach them.
A cultured woman found herself among people of a strange language and race. Many varied customs. While she was there she became a close friend of a devoted missionary. One day she said, “I was troubled by an experience with those quarreling, difficult people, and I related my grievances to my missionary friend. ‘They are so self- interested,’ I complained. ‘So self-absorbed, so soft on themselves, so violent with others, so unreasoning, so totally difficult,’ and when I had finished rehearsing their faults as I saw them my friend smiled a little and said something I have never forgotten. ‘That’s why they need us.”
Sometimes we slip into a pattern of thinking that “hanging out” is what you do with people you want to be with, people you get along with, people you enjoy.
But there’s a place for hanging out with people simply for the reason of having an impact on them.


Who not to hang with

There are actually a group of people we ought to be careful about hanging out with.
The people that you and I are not to "fellowship" with, are those who claim to be Christians, but are in open rebellion against the Lord.
Don’t get me wrong. If a person has fallen away from the Lord or is struggling with their walk, we ought to reach out and help them up.

(Gal 6:1-2 NKJV) Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. {2} Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

When we seek to restore a person, we need to be careful we do it with compassion, maybe even a measure of patience because you may not know the whole story.



A weary mother returned from the store, 

Lugging groceries through the kitchen door.

Awaiting her arrival was her 8 year old son,

Anxious to relate what his younger brother had done.

"While I was out playing and Dad was on a call,

T.J. took his crayons and wrote on the wall!

It's on the new paper you just hung in the den.

I told him you'd be mad at having to do it again."

She let out a moan and furrowed her brow,

"Where is your little brother right now?"

She emptied her arms and with a purposeful stride,

She marched to his closet where he had gone to hide.

She called his full name as she entered his room.

He trembled with fear-he knew that meant doom!

For the next ten minutes, she ranted and raved

About the expensive wallpaper and how she had saved.

Lamenting all the work it would take to repair,

She condemned his actions and total lack of care.

The more she scolded, the madder she got,

Then stomped from his room, totally distraught!

She headed for the den to confirm her fears.

When she saw the wall, her eyes flooded with tears.

The message she read pierced her soul with a dart.

It said, "I love Mommy," surrounded by a heart.

Well, the wallpaper remained, just as she found it,

With an empty picture frame hung to surround it.

A reminder to her, and indeed to all,

Take time to read the handwriting on the wall.

But when a person continually rejects the counsel to get right before the Lord, and continues in their sin, then we are to step away from them.
(1 Cor 5:9-13 NKJV) I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. {10} Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. {11} But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; not even to eat with such a person. {12} For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? {13} But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person."

Paul wrote this because he had been addressing the problem of the man who was sleeping with his step-mom yet the church wasn’t confronting the man with his sin.

Again there is a place for compassion. Stepping back doesn’t mean to stay away forever.
Paul “disfellowshipped” the man from the church. Yet he was later to be brought back because the discipline had worked.
(2 Cor 2:6-8 NKJV) This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, {7} so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. {8} Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.

:14 I said to Peter before them all,

This is kind of unusual, since the general rule to follow when a person is living in sin is to confront them privately (Mat.18:15-17).

If they don’t listen to you, then you go again with a witness.

If they still don’t listen, then you bring it to the church.

But the difference here is that this is an issue that involves the whole church, and Peter is respected as an elder in the church.

(1 Tim 5:19-20 NKJV) Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. {20} Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

Why rebuke an elder in the presence of all?
Because an elder, a respected Christian, will have an influence on others around him.

Peter has been affecting the church at Antioch.  The other Jewish believers and even Barnabas have been caught up in Peter’s hypocrisy.

:14 "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?

compelanagkazo – to necessitate, compel, drive to, constrain; by force, threats, etc.

(Gal 2:14 NLT) …"Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you trying to make these Gentiles obey the Jewish laws you abandoned?

Peter is living a double standard.

He allows himself to live like a Gentile for awhile, but later behaves in a way that tries to make the Gentiles do the changing.


Set the right example

You are going to be an example, like it or not.  The question is what kind of an example are you going to set?
Moses and Aaron blew it.  The people had been once more complaining about their lives in the wilderness, they didn’t have enough water.  Moses went to God with the problem.  The last time this had happened, God had told Moses to “Strike the rock” and water would come out of the rock.  But this time God said to just “speak to the Rock”.
(Num 20:7-13 KJV)  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {8} Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. {9} And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. {10} And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? {11} And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. {12} And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. {13} This is the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.

There may be several layers of lessons here, but one of them is that Moses and Aaron simply didn’t reflect what God was wanting them to do.  They gave the people the impression that God was steaming mad at them, and I’m not sure this was the case.

They set the wrong example.

It may seem that God was extra harsh on Moses, but God is extra hard on leaders because of the nature of the example they set.

James wrote,

(James 3:1 NASB) Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.

A few years later, Peter himself would write to leaders,
(1 Pet 5:2-3 NKJV) Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; {3} nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
The writer to the Hebrews says,
(Heb 13:7 ICB)  Remember your leaders. They taught God's message to you. Remember how they lived and died, and copy their faith.

Set an example with your faith that others can and should copy.