Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones series entitled Walking in the Spirit, which is a study of Galatians chapter 5.
Through this study, we'll see how believers can have freedom in Christ as they walk with him each day. Let's listen to today's message where Steve will walk us through an introduction to the book of Galatians. I'm going to ask you to please take your Bibles this morning and turn with me to the book of Galatians, the book of Galatians. If somebody asked you what is the book of Galatians all about, what would your answer be or what would you say off the top of your head?
Maybe perhaps you would speak of various topics, things you remember like the fruit of the Spirit, or maybe you reap what you sow, or I'm crucified with Christ, bear one another's burdens, Christian liberty. Maybe you would think of the book of Galatians from the standpoint of a topical idea, but most people really have not grasped the expositional concept of the book of Galatians. And so this morning as we are introducing our theme Walking in the Spirit, I'd like us to take a few moments to do an overview of the book of Galatians and understand its purpose and why it was written.
And I think it's important for us if we're going to get Galatians, we have to get a feel for its style. That is, how was it written? For the author, the Apostle Paul, wrote the book of Galatians in a certain mood or a certain tone. So what was the mood or the tone of Galatians when Paul wrote this letter? Well first of all, the tone of it was combative.
We would say the style is polemical. That is, Paul is writing in the attack mode. Because in the churches of Galatia where he administered, there were problems that had arisen, both doctrinal and potentially moral, that was destructive or potentially destructive to the early church. And so when Paul writes, he is fighting against something.
And by the way, Galatians is not an archaic book. It is a book that is extremely relevant for today for the issue that started in the early church continues to this very hour even now. But let me also say his style was passionate because the language Paul used was very urgent. His tone was direct, his message was dogmatic or we would put in simple terms, he was fired up.
And then as he wrote this letter, it was actually very practical. For it had influence on not only on the church of that day, but it also has extreme practical relevancy to us today in the church in the United States of America and the world. So what is Galatians all about? Let's fly about 20,000 feet up.
Have you ever done that before and looked down? And let's get a lay of the land. And I want to give you this morning the four reasons why Paul wrote Galatians. The first reason was to expose the false gospel. Galatians is Paul's first letter that he ever wrote. It was written after his first missionary journey with another man named Barnabas, Paul and Barnabas. You can read about it in Acts 13 and 14.
And they go to a region in southern central Turkey known as Galatia. And there Paul and Barnabas go to various cities like Lystra and Derby and Iconium. And there they preach the gospel of free grace and there's a wonderful response and many people were saved. Well Paul leaves, he departs, he goes back to the city of Antioch to report to the church the great things that God had done among the Gentiles. But after his departure, certain teachers from Jerusalem came into the Galatian communities and they began to preach a different gospel. Look if you will please in Galatians 1 in verse 6. Paul writes, I marvel that you were so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel which is not another but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. Here's what Paul said, these people came in and they preached to you a different gospel, a gospel of another kind. A number of years ago in our ministry my brother-in-law traveled with me, he and his family, and so there were two trucks and two fifth wheel trailers traveling down the highway.
We looked like a circus. Both of us had four trucks, both of us had F-350 trucks dually, that is four wheels on the back. If you looked at them they looked exactly the same except for the color.
Mine was jet black and his was candy apple red. But when you opened up the hoods of the trucks you saw two completely different engines. For one was gasoline and the other was diesel and they were completely different, they were a different kind. What Paul is saying is that there were teachers who had come into the community and they were preaching what they said was the gospel but it was a different kind and they had changed the gospel from one thing to another thing so that no longer were they preaching the same thing and so Paul calls it another gospel, an alternative gospel. So the question is what was their message and essentially it was this that these false teachers were both Jewish and they were professing believers in Jesus and they came instructing the Gentiles, the Galatian Gentiles, that in order for them to have a relationship with God they had to be circumcised.
Or in other words a Gentile had to become a Jew in order to become a Christian. Now they didn't reject Jesus, they didn't deny Jesus, in fact as they believed in Jesus the problem was that they added to Jesus. For they took what Jesus did on the cross and in essence said that that's not enough therefore you need to do these things in order to have a relationship with God.
You could say their message was Jesus plus. Jesus and what he did and these additions. And what point Paul was making was this that the problem of adding circumcision to Jesus was a significant problem because if you require for a person to keep one part of the law circumcision then you have to understand that you can't just keep part of the law you have to keep the whole law and that's what he says in Galatians 5 and verse 3. Notice he says, for I testify again to every man that is circumcised that he is deader to do the whole law.
You cannot pick and choose. If you put yourself under God's law to have a relationship with him you have to keep all 613 laws of Moses. And here's the issue by adding law to Jesus what you take away is you take away faith. Romans 4 14 for if they which are of the law be heirs faith is made void and the promise made of none effect is real simple. You cannot mix works with faith in order to get salvation.
We are either saved by believing trusting in another or we're saved by trusting in ourselves. And what we have in the Galatians Church is an illustration that has been seen throughout church history and that is groups of professing believers who have added works to grace. And this is what you have under the umbrella of the church or the umbrella of the Christian faith.
You have those who believe in salvation by grace through faith and those who have added works to faith in historically we have called this group legalists. And Paul devotes four chapters to deal with this issue and expose the false gospel. They were teaching a gospel that was not the gospel of grace. So that's the first reason why Paul wrote the book of Galatians. It was to expose the false gospel but it's more than that. Secondly he wrote it to expound the true gospel. Now we know this that a good leader makes things clear and this is exactly what Paul did in the early church for he makes very clear what the gospel is and he makes very clear what the gospel is not to those that were drifting away from the truth.
And notice in Galatians chapter 2 and verse 16 he clearly enunciates the gospel. He declares that a man is justified and how he is justified and how he is not. Notice verse 16, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by the faith of Jesus Christ even we have believed in Jesus Christ that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law. For by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. What does it mean to be justified? It means to be declared righteous to stand before God without sin completely right before him. To have lived my life as if I have never done anything wrong and I did everything right.
Now you and I can't do that. So why did Jesus come into the world? He came into the world to live for us and to die for us. He lived perfectly as a Jew under the law. He died sacrificially as a sacrifice for us on the cross to pay for the sins where we have broken the law. So he kept the law by his life. He paid the penalty of the law by his death and when we accept Jesus what do we get? The benefits of his life and death. He lived perfectly for me. He died sacrificially for me. That's the gospel and I'm saved by believing that message alone.
Now let me ask you a question. If the truth of the gospel was being misunderstood in Paul's day can we safely assume that the gospel might be misunderstood today? Even among professing Christians we can be guaranteed that the gospel is not clearly enunciated on a regular basis. But not only did he clearly announce his gospel but he also validated his gospel.
How did he do that? He connected what he was preaching to the apostles of Jesus. Look at Galatians 2 verse 1. Then 14 years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas and took Titus with me also and I went up by revelation and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles. In other words Paul goes up and he meets with the apostles of Jesus and he came up and he explained to them clearly what he was preaching to the Gentiles. Notice Galatians 2 7. They saw that the gospel to the uncircumcision was committed unto me and the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter. Now is the gospel of the uncircumcision and circumcision two different gospels?
No, same gospel, same message. They were just ministering to different groups of people. Peter preached to the Jews. Paul was preaching to the Gentiles. Now notice Galatians 2 9. And when James and Cephas, that's Peter and John, all right get it, James, Peter, and John. By the way where do you find James, Peter, and John through the Gospels?
All over it. They were a part of the inner circle. They were the closest people to Jesus. It says James, Cephas, and John were seemed to be pillars perceived the grace that was given unto me they gave to me and Barnabas, now watch this, the right hand of fellowship. That's a validation that we should go under the heathen and they unto the circumcision. The apostles validated Paul's gospel when they gave him the right hand of fellowship.
That's an acceptance. Hey we're on the same page. We're preaching the same message. The difference was not in their message it was just to whom they were ministering to. Now what should define us today as Christians? Should it not be first and foremost our commitment to the truth of the gospel? What else could be, what else could be more fundamental than being soundly committed to the gospel? What should be preeminent?
What should be top priority? It is the message that we believe. Fact is Paul made it very clear that his message he didn't receive from a man or any particular movement but he received his message directly from God. I want to say to you that the gospel message is more important than any man or any movement. This is to be priority and preeminent and so what does Paul do? He expounds the true gospel so it is very clear in our mind. That's why he wrote the book of Galatians but then notice number three he wrote the book of Galatians to exemplify the right response to the wrong message. Now Paul's actions show us very clearly what we are to do when people preach or practice something contrary to the gospel and his actions were very clear. What did Paul do? Two things. Number one he shows us how to respond to a false teacher.
Now I want you to understand something. Paul is not addressing Hindus or Buddhists or Muslims. Paul is confronting people who are talking about the gospel. They had come into the churches.
They were agreeing with Paul. Christ is the Savior. He is the Messiah.
He died on the cross and rose from the dead. However they were saying that their salvation was not complete until you add works to faith. So how do you respond to people who have changed the gospel?
What do you do? And Paul tells us look at Galatians 2 and verse 4 and that because of false brethren unawares brought in who came in privily or secretly to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus that they might bring us into bondage to whom we gave place by subjection no not for an hour that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. What is Paul saying? He didn't put up with it for an hour.
He didn't sit around and figure out what he was gonna say or do. He pronounced immediately the judgment of God on the false teachers. Look at Galatians 1 and verse 8. But though we are an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you let him be accursed.
I want to say it again. What is most important is not the announcer of the message is the message. If an apostle or an angel preach any other message than that which I've given unto you let that man come unto the judgment of God. That puts priority on the gospel. No place for dialogue. No room for debate. No Christian recognition. No Christian cooperation. Paul saw these false teachers as spies, as kidnappers, and as slaveholders. And so what did he do?
He denounced them. I was saved as I mentioned before in college. I grew up in a very nominal Christian home. Fact is my father was a deacon and a Sunday school teacher and I attended church on a regular basis. Fact is I remember being four years old in the church nursery. How many of you remember the church nursery at your age at that younger age?
I did. But as time went along I began to realize that my church denied the basic tenets of the Christian faith in their practice. They did not teach that you were saved by grace through faith. I never heard the gospel message clearly presented. And I realized that as they were denying biblical basic biblical truths of the gospel I could not stay up and I could not stay in the church.
I had to leave. And I want you to understand that you need to be committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ no matter what. So what do we find? We find that he condemned them. But then there was another problem that arose in the churches of Galatia and this problem was actually quite incredible. And it is here that Paul shows us how to respond to true brothers who identify with false brothers. And let's go to Galatians 2 and verse 11 and just read the issue that came up.
It is quite incredible. It has to do with all people Peter. Notice what it says. But when Peter was come to Antioch Paul says I withstood him to the face because he was to be blamed. Blamed for what?
Read on. For before that certain came from James. James being the half brother of Jesus. He did not eat for before the certain came from James he did not he did eat excuse me with the Gentiles but when they came he withdrew and separated himself fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled that means they were they acted hypocritically. Likewise with him in so much that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
All right what was happening? Well Peter was eating at the table. He was having we could say table fellowship with Gentiles in Antioch and these Gentiles were Christians.
Now it was not normal for a Jew to eat with a Gentile because Gentiles were considered unclean. However Peter knew the gospel. He knew God had accepted the Gentiles by justifying them by faith and furthermore Peter knew that the Gentiles were not required to be under Jewish dietary laws. He knew that God had already revealed that to him. So Peter's fellowship with them showed his belief in the truth of the gospel that God had saved these Gentiles. However there came from Jerusalem what we call Judaizers or you could call them the James boys and they came to Antioch and they saw Peter eating with the Gentiles and they put Peter under fear pressure. What was the fear pressure?
Well we don't know exactly. It could be that maybe they would would withdraw financial support. Maybe they would go back to the city of Jerusalem where he came from and speak evil about his name. His reputation would be tarnished.
Maybe it would affect his family. We don't know but what we know what Peter did was he withdrew from eating with the believing Gentiles and by his action Peter was rejecting justification by faith and now was supporting the message of the false teachers. Did Peter really believe the message of the false teachers?
Of course not. No he didn't believe it. However when he removed himself from the Gentile Christians he sided with the Judaizers and by Peter's actions he was saying that he believed their message and Paul said that he was a hypocrite.
Why? Because he knew what Peter believed but his actions were different and furthermore Peter's actions were so influential that even Barnabas the man who had gone with Paul to the regions of Galatia to preach the gospel of free grace even Barnabas was led astray in the wrong direction. He was carried away into hypocrisy. He was saying that he believed one thing but his actions were different and what did the apostle Paul do with Peter? Look at what it says in verse 14. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel I said unto Peter watch this before them all if thou being a Jew liveth after the manner of Gentiles and not as do the Jews why compelest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? What he was simply saying is this by your actions you are identifying with a false message instead of identifying with the true message and so what did what did Paul do?
He confronted Peter to the face. He reasoned with him from the standpoint of justification and showed him his actions were wrong and Paul makes it clear that it is wrong for any believer to give knowing support to those who have compromised the gospel by your associations with them for if you do that you're saying I actually am saying by my actions I believe the false message. So what are we to do as Christians? We are to be defensive for the gospel message and even if a Christian compromises by his actions we are to stand against those actions. It is very clear that this is exactly what Paul did he exemplified the right response to the wrong message.
By the way what if Peter had persisted in his disobedience? Then we know that it would have destroyed the unity of the church and Peter would have been at fault by his compromise for the unity of the church has to be based on obedience to the truth and so what do we see in Galatians? How we are to handle the false message and then finally as we conclude this morning what's the fourth reason for the book of Galatians and that is to explain the right use of the law and our Christian liberty. More than any other book Galatians explains the freedoms that we have in Christ and how we are to relate to the law of God. The law is mentioned 30 times in Galatians especially in chapters 3 and 4 and we have already seen that keeping the law is not the means by which we are saved so the question is what is the right and proper use of the law of God?
And I want you to understand that the law plays a major and important role in two areas. Number one in the salvation of the sinner. You do not understand sin until first of all you realize you are transgressing the law of God. But then let me say secondly that the law is actually to be used in the sanctification of the saint. For when you become a Christian God does not throw the law away but through the law we understand the righteous character of God and through that law we understand how it is God wants us to live. So specifically the law shows us our need of Jesus for our justification and the law shows us our need of the Spirit for sanctification. And the freedom or the liberty that we experience as a Christian is found first of all in the work of Jesus for us on the cross and then secondly in the work of the Holy Spirit within us. For God has given us the Spirit to live within us to change us from the inside out so that actually we walk in light of the righteousness of the law. The Spirit would never lead you to be a law breaker. The Spirit will always lead you to be a law keeper. You've been listening to a sermon from the study series in Galatians chapter 5 by Dr. Steve Pettit president of Bob Jones University. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we study God's Word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-14 02:43:12 / 2023-08-14 02:52:06 / 9