References: Galatians 2:1-10
So this is all that is written so far. And he makes this bold statement about the gospel. That’s why we in our service here this morning sung some songs about the gospel this morning.
So notice I titled this message Paul’s Gospel, but we’ll try to look down through the first 10 verses. If I ask you what the greatest need or let me say the greatest threat to our nation or to our world is, what would you say? How would you answer? Boy, don’t we hear that all the time? This is the greatest threat is global warming really the greatest threat to this world is somehow systemic racism, the greatest threat to our country or to our world. How about even the LGBTQ ism? Is that the greatest threat? China, Russia? What would it be is the greatest threat to our world, an invasion that we have?
Some what in each of those areas, but the answer is no. You know what the greatest threat to this world is today? It is the loss of a gospel that can save your soul. If we lose the gospel, we’ve lost eternity. This time of this world goes by very shortly, very quickly, but eternity lasts forever. If we cannot tell people how to be saved, if we don’t have the gospel, that has to be the greatest tragedy, the greatest loss that this world would ever know. There are lots of gospels.
How about this? The gospel of let’s just love everybody and get along. It is what some people believe. It’s a selfish emotion, but it is a gospel that some people practice. What about this one?
I heard this this week. We should just do as Jesus did. The problem is you end up doing what you think Jesus would do and what you think Jesus did, not what really the Bible says. How about building the kingdom? We’re building the kingdom of God. Some people think we’re saving America and that’s the gospel.
Ecumenicalism is the globalism of our day, thinking that everybody, if they just are sincere in their religion, just sincere what they do, surely they’ll go to heaven because they were sincere in what they did. There’s the gospel of the Antichrist these days and that is you must comply in order to survive. Some people are very busy at trying to survive in our day and age. I wrote these things down about our nation in the 21st century. The destruction of marriage is our global flood.
In other words, the reason God flooded this world is because they were marrying and giving in marriage and the destruction of marriage in our day brings upon that same thing. Our globalism is our tower of Babel. We can bring the world together. We can bring the whole thing together.
Artificial intelligence to all the rest. The LGBTQ plus is our Sodom and Gomorrah. There’s no doubt about it and it would bring God’s judgment as well.
Our ecumenicalism is our cross. I mean by that this world is saying whatever you believe is okay but we won’t have that man to reign over us. Crucify him but give us everything else that we want. We really stand in need of a true gospel today and we stand under God’s judgment today.
You know what all of these things have in common? Number one, the Bible is secondary. Whatever the Bible says, that’s not really important. What’s important is what we think and what we think is true.
That’s what is important. The second thing that they have in common is Jesus is a handy example. I mean by that, you know, you can pick, you can cherry pick as they say in sports. You know, you can cherry pick something Jesus said here or something he did over here and then you make that your entire religion instead of understanding what Jesus was saying.
But the biggest thing that false religions have in common is that they say that it takes human effort to be saved. You have to do something. You have to effect something.
You have to have pride in something. You have to worship something the way we say to worship it. You have to do something in order to be saved because every other religion besides the gospel of grace is a human legalistic religion. Something you do in order to have eternal life. And God says it’s a gift.
It comes by grace and you can’t buy it or can’t earn it. Now, when we come back to Galatians chapter two and these first 10 verses, understand a few things. The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without that and without that truth you have no gospel.
Either Jesus did those things he was, who he said he was, and he did what the Bible says he did, or we don’t have salvation. You’re not too far from chapter 4 in Galatians. Let me remind you of chapter 4 verse 4 and 5. When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. The death, burial, and resurrection, the gospel of Jesus Christ begins with the incarnation. When Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins, was buried, rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, that becomes the gospel. Now Paul is preaching that.
And here’s the tragedy in what Paul was saying. The very nation, and that is Israel itself. The very nation that God redeemed, that God chose, that God brought across the desert and brought into the Promised Land, that very nation had become the very threat to the gospel. Rather than understanding why they were there and what God had said to them, Paul sees them as the greatest threat to being saved, and we’re going to see that in our passage. The law was supposed to convict you of your sin so that you knew that you needed to look for a Messiah. And yet what they did was crucify their Messiah and say, you must keep everything we say about the law or you can’t be saved.
That’s what’s going on in this chapter. And Paul has to turn around and in the first book of the New Testament, he says, no, salvation is not by your own works. It’s not by keeping the law. It is by grace and your belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now I want you to notice, I have an outline, I think that you can easily follow, as I want to make three thoughts about this passage in these 10 verses. But I want you to notice verse one again, and I ended in verse one two weeks ago. After 14 years, Paul said, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas and also took Titus with me.
Now, what is he talking about? I don’t know if you can easily turn back to Acts chapter 15, or I’m going to read the first five verses to you, but in Acts chapter 15, that is the same thing that is happening here. What happened in the book of Acts? After Paul’s first missionary journey, he comes back to Antioch and he’s there in Antioch and this problem arises of the Jews saying, you must keep the law to be saved. You must be circumcised to be saved.
And without those saying, you do not have eternal life. And Paul hears that after preaching the gospel up in Galatia and he says, let’s go to Jerusalem and get this thing right. Now, here’s what Acts 15 one says, speaking of the exact same time that our verse in chapter two, verse one is talking about. Acts 15 one says, and certain men came down from Judea, that is from the church of Jerusalem, they come to Antioch and taught the brethren, quote, unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved. End quote, verse two, therefore when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, no doubt, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question.
So being sent on their way by the church, they pass through Phoenicia and Samaria. Notice this describing the conversion of what? Gentiles, circumcised or uncircumcised people. They’re not Jewish people, but here’s the conversion of Gentiles. And they cause great joy of all to all the brethren. Verse four, when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church and the apostles and the elders and they reported all things that God had done with them. And notice verse five, but some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, I’ll explain that oxymoron in a little while, rose up saying quote, it is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses. These are members of the church of Jerusalem and they are commanding this. And you have to have what in Acts we call the Jerusalem Council in order to settle this very important question. Now, Acts 15, as well as our verse in chapter two, mentions Barnabas. Paul and Barnabas go up to Jerusalem because they were the ones that were on the first missionary journey and they’re still together and they were preaching together. But our verse here in chapter two, verse one, also mentions Titus.
All that Acts 15 says, and certain of other of the brethren, Paul is going to mention Titus for a very real reason. We’ll come back to especially in verse three. So three thoughts I have here from this very important passage is Paul. Paul comes to Jerusalem saying, look folks, the gospel is at stake. I’ve been preaching that you get eternal life through faith without works. Is that not right? And if it’s not right, then what I’m preaching is vain. It’s empty.
And we have no gospel. Do whatever you want to do. Very much at stake here. So notice, number one, my first thought. There’s the ultimate test of the gospel. gospel.
I use the word ultimate. God didn’t use it here, so I’m kind of pressing a little bit, but it’s important. Then what makes the gospel?
What’s the test of the gospel? Number one, where did it come from? Now notice as we begin verse two, I went up by what? Revelation and communed to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles. Revelation, where does the gospel come from? From God. It comes by Revelation from God. Now I’ll remind you again, there’s no New Testament yet.
No books of the New Testament have been written. And so how did God give the gospel to Paul, to Peter, and to John and the rest by special revelation? And he did that in those days to these kinds of men. But I want you to notice chapter one, notice in chapter one of Galatians, verses 11 and 12. We’ve already gone over these verses. When he said, I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man, for I neither received it from man nor was I taught it, but it came through, what is that word? The revelation of Jesus Christ.
That’s where I got it. As a matter of fact, if you can turn to your right quickly to Ephesians one, or excuse me, Ephesians three, I want to read a few verses in Ephesians chapter three, maybe the first six verses. What’s interesting about this is, Galatians is the first book that Paul is writing. Ephesians is one of the last books, years down the road. He’s in jail in Rome when he writes this book. But notice what he says. Ephesians three, for this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, for you Gentiles, if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which was given to me for you.
How that, what’s this word? By revelation he made known to me the mystery, as I wrote a four and a few words, by which when you read you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known to the sons of man, as it has now been, what is our word, revealed by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets, that the Gentiles, those non-Jewish people, non-circumcised people, should be fellow heirs of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ through the gospel. You see what is at stake here. Where does your gospel come from? You know that verse that we often quote in 1 Corinthians 2. I hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him. We quote that verse and say, won’t heaven be great? It sure will be.
How can we imagine what heaven is going to be like? But notice what he says. The eye hasn’t seen, the ear hasn’t heard, or entered into our heart. You know why? Because then it would come from man.
It would come from human beings. The next verse says that God has revealed them unto us by his spirit. The reason we know anything even about heaven is God told us that, not that it came into our hearts and into our minds. So I’m saying where did your gospel come from?
And let me end with this thought. Today we have the written word of God and nothing else. God was giving revelations. He was giving dreams and visions, even inspiration in that first century to those apostles.
But when they died, those gifts died with them and God finished the writing when he put the last period on the book of revelation. And now this is God’s revelation to you. And if you’re preaching a gospel that does not coincide with this revelation from God, then it’s not the gospel.
And you’ve added something to it or taken something away from it. I’m not sure, but it’s not the gospel. So where does it come from as first? Secondly, can it be defended?
That is, biblically, can it be defended? And so back to verse two, it says that he went up by revelation, communicated to them the gospel, which he preached, but then he says, but privately to those who were of reputation, privately to those lest by any means I might run or had run in vain. Interestingly, that when he and Barnabas and Titus probably with them, they come to Jerusalem, he says, I need to meet with Peter, James, and John. I need to meet with the apostles that are here. That’s all we know that were there at the time.
And he mentions the elders in chapter 15 in those six verses, the elders. And I need to talk with you. Now, why is that? It’s kind of interesting in reading different men who write about these. Why would Paul have a private session with, you know, these important people in the Jerusalem church? Maybe he was in doubt about what he, you know, are, you know, are you saying the same thing I’m saying?
I think, I think it’s this. He’s saying, men, either you and I are preaching the same gospel, and that is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ without works, or all that we’re saying is vain. If the Judaizers are right, let’s just dismiss right now and go home. We have nothing more to say. And so he met with them, and when they really agreed, yes, that is the truth of the gospel, then what you’re preaching and what I’m preaching is not in vain or empty or of no account. And that’s what the Judaizers were trying to say to them.
That’s what they were saying. You can’t preach it without circumstances. You can’t preach it without the law. You can’t be saved without the law.
They’ve turned the very word of God into their own religion and Paul knew it. So today we have God’s word. We have this book.
We protect it. We read it. We call it God’s word. We know it’s inspired by God and our gospel better be defined by this book.
Number three or third under this point, can it be practiced? Now, I think here’s an interesting statement in verse three that he mentions Titus again. He was mentioned in verse one, but not even Titus, who is with me being what?
A Gentile, a Greek. Was he circumcised? No, he was not.
And he wasn’t compelled to be so. Now think of what Paul did here. He’s up here in Antioch and these guys come up from Jerusalem and they say, these Gentiles have to become Jews or they can’t be saved. Paul says, well, I’ll tell you what, I’ll just take a Gentile with me and we’ll see if what you say is right or not.
And when the dust clears and Paul leaves town, is Titus circumcised? Nope. Why?
Because it’s not necessary. And Paul knew it when he took Titus with him that they would have to deal with this. This Gentile sitting in their midst, a young man who evidently was in the church at Antioch, who everyone knew him, knew his salvation, knew what kind of a man he was.
He says, nope, you don’t have to be. And he went away, stole a Gentile. Now, there’s an interesting mix here that I want to remind you of and that is, as soon as they leave Jerusalem in Acts chapter 16, Paul picks up a young man named Timothy.
Remember that? As they go back north through Galatia again, Timothy comes into the picture for the first time in the Bible, Acts chapter 16. And here’s what it says. He came to Derbian Lister and behold, a certain disciple was there named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was a Greek. Paul wanted to have him go with him. He took him and circumcised him. Paul circumcised Timothy because of the Jews who were in that region for they all knew that his father was Greek. Now why not Titus, but why did he do that with Timothy?
I think the answer simply is this. Timothy was circumcised as a Jew, not as a Christian. In other words, he was a Jewish boy and he was going to be preaching to Jews. This mattered to them.
And so he did everything he could do to open the door for the Gospel. But when Titus was there, they didn’t care. He’s a Gentile.
They don’t care whether he’s circumcised or not. He doesn’t need to be. So he wasn’t.
So that’s the difference between the two. Linsky in his commentary used a word you may not be familiar with. He said this, the moment any adiaphoron, you know what an adiaphoron is? No, you don’t because it isn’t even in the dictionary. But it’s a word theologians use. Adiaphoron means something that is debated inconsequential or not necessary. And he’s speaking of circumcision here. The moment any adiaphoron is demanded as being necessary for salvation, it ceases to be added to for on.
It becomes a vital issue on which we dare not yield. What happens to those people who say you better be baptized or you can’t go to heaven? What do we Baptist say?
That isn’t so. The thief on the cross was never baptized. And Jesus said, today you’ll be with me in paradise. When our Baptist forefathers in the 15 and 1600s first became Baptist, they had children and the Roman church as well as the Protestant churches said, you better you better christen those children. You better have them baptized as children. And you know what our Baptist forefather said? Nope, we’re not going to do it.
It’s not necessary to salvation and it’s not something we need to do. So they didn’t. Many of them died for not doing that.
We’re put to death by the Roman church as well as the Protestant church for not baptizing their babies. And why? Because it’s adiaphoron. It’s unnecessary to salvation. And so that’s what’s going on here as we see the test of the gospel. Let me move on to point number two then in verses four and five. So first of all, the ultimate test to the gospel are these three things. But there’s a challenge to the gospel and always has been. And there was a challenge in that day strikingly, 20 years after the Lord’s death and resurrection and ascension, you’ve got these challenges to the gospel. And so in verses four and five it says, but this occurred because, quote, false brethren end of quote.
That’s in my version because I write in my own. False brethren secretly brought in who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty, which we have in Christ Jesus and that they might bring us into bondage. And Paul says this to whom we did not yield submission, even not not even for an hour so that the truth of the gospel might continue.
Because if we allow that, we have no gospel. Now the ultimate challenge number one are pretenders, false brethren. false, false brethren is an oxymoron to say false brethren. We had it, we had it back up here in, in, in Acts chapter 15 where it’s, it called them Pharisees who believed.
They were anything but believers and these false brethren are anything but brethren. So an oxymoron is what? When you say something like, well, that’s old news. It’s two words that don’t go together. Old and new, oh, that’s old news. They had a friendly fight. That’s an oxymoron.
Parting is such sweet sorrow. Can’t be both. You’re pretty ugly. That’s an oxymoron.
Or that’s an original copy. Or how about what we say today? We have virtual reality. Two words that don’t go together. Well, we have these kinds of things here when Paul says false brethren. He would have put quotation marks around it because what he’s saying is they’re not brethren if they’ve added to the gospel or these Pharisees who believed are not believers if they still are Pharisees. You know, the Bible calls them apostates.
In the book of Jude and chapter of 2 Peter, these are those who come in, they try to live among the brethren, they try to be part of the church, but they’ve never been saved. They talk as though they have been. They have their own agenda and so forth and pretty soon they leave and go away.
And why is that? Because they just couldn’t abide the stay where the gospels preach. Apostates. You know, I notice a term that we have today often it’s called people of faith, right? You know, we just to describe anyone who’s religious as a person of faith, some spiritual person. But people who don’t have the gospel of Jesus Christ sometimes are called people of faith. Are Muslims really people of faith?
I know some and I know nice people. I’m not talking about the person himself, but you can’t believe what they believe and claim to be a Christian by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since they reject him, how can they be a person of faith? Mormon’s the same way. As a matter of fact, Israelites the same way. Some of the hardest people to win to Jesus Christ are still Jewish people who as nice as they are and as religious as they are and as pretty as their religion is deny who Jesus Christ is.
How can you be saved? You can’t be that way. And the cults are that way, of course. Lydia in chapter 16 of Acts was that way. She was at a prayer meeting down by the river, praying with other women and they had never heard the gospel in their life.
And Paul comes and tells them about it and she gets saved. Cornelius, we’re told in Acts chapter 10, was a man who prayed. He gave alms to the poor.
He did all of these good works and the angel appears to him and says, you need to be saved, Cornelius, and I’m going to send you to somebody who can tell you how to be saved. You know, it’s people of faith. And then there was a grippa who stood before Paul in those later chapters of the book of Acts and Paul says to King of Grippa, I know you understand these things, King of Grippa, and you need to believe them. And a grippa says, you know, you almost persuade me to be a Christian. Not quite, but almost. And we have an invitation song we sing, almost persuaded, now to believe, almost.
And then the end of the song says almost but lost, almost but lost. So pretenders become a challenge to the gospel because of what they’re saying, true. And this is what Paul is saying. These men who have come in among you, is it really what they say?
Because if it is, the rest of us are wrong to say what we say. Because Peter even preached a Pentecost, there’s one name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Number two, there are then invaders, not only the pretenders, but notice they came in by stealth. I’m reading the New King James word here stealth. Secretly, they come in.
Privately, you might have the word. Who are these people who sneaked in this way? Who are these who came in and came in among the believers knowing they were not saved and the rest? Now, you know I like to define these words. So hold on just a minute because this is, this interesting word. The Greek word for stealth or here privately is the word idios. Now we get an English word idiot from that. Now don’t think derogatorily, idiot means somebody who can’t act the right way.
It may be for a physical reason, it may be for a mental reason, it may be for a number of reasons. But idios means someone, a person who goes their own way, but not the way of truth. That’s how the Bible’s using the word. They’re going the way they’re coming in among us, but not according to truth.
Idios, kind of doing their own thing, so to speak. Let me remind you of a couple of verses. Jude, in verse four, Jude said, for certain men have crept in unawares, crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men who turned the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
And then Peter will say it in chapter two this way. There were also false prophets among the people, not just people, but false prophets. And we have read in our book here already false apostles.
even. There were, he says, also false prophets among the people, even as there, notice this, will be false teachers among you. Peter is speaking to us, and there will be false teachers among you. Who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, notice that, oh well we don’t need to believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
We don’t need to believe that he was God in the flesh, and bring on themselves swift destruction. So we have them in our day, and folk, the modern church is full of, is full of these. People who think they’re saved or not. Isn’t that a terrible thing to admit?
I hate to admit that to the world, but with all of the churches that we have in our country and around the world, and all those who call themselves church, and all those who call themselves even Christendom, as we say, there’s a lot of pretenders and a lot of invaders in the churches. So lastly, I use the word controllers for this reason. So also in verse 4, that they might bring us into bondage. Bondage. Notice the word in that liberty, earlier in that verse, to spy out our liberty, which we have in Christ, that they might bring us into bondage.
Two opposite things. Liberty is liberty, freedom. But bondage, by the way, comes from the word do-loss. You know that the word do-loss means slavery. It’s the word for slave.
They want to make slaves out of us. Look at chapter 5 verse 1 of this very book. Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty by which Christ has made us free.
What does that mean? You only have liberty in Christ if the gospel came unto you freely without your work. Do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
And what he means by that is the mosaic law, trying to keep the law. It will make a slave out of you. Indeed, I, Paul, say to you, if you become circumcised, then Christ profits you nothing. You’re trying to be saved by works. Faith is internal.
Faith is your decision to give your soul to Jesus Christ. No one can do it for you. Someone can instruct you. Someone can tell you from the word of God how. But no one can do it for you.
And we say, we hear so often today, oh, don’t force your religion upon me. There’s no way you can. What about all the people who were tortured until they said a certain thing? Can you really do that with faith? No, you couldn’t do it if you tried. Salvation and faith is an internal, personal thing.
But work is external. Here, do this. Oh, okay. Here you have to keep the law. Okay. You have to be circumcised. Okay. You have to be baptized. Okay.
You have to be a member of our church or our cult or whatever. Okay. That’s all human work. Faith is internal. And so here, in the Book of Galatians, and James picks up this same theme. Remember James, who’s there in Jerusalem. He’s the pastor of the church. He’s dealing with this controversy as well. And at the same time, he picks up and writes what we have as the Book of James, the first two books in the New Testament, James and Galatians.
And what are they doing? Saying salvation is by faith, not by the works of the law. And I like verse five, you know what Paul says, to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour.
The truth of the gospel might continue with you. Folks, I’ll just say as a pastor, this pulpit, some people call it a sacred desk, but this pulpit by our kinds of churches has been placed in the middle. You know, I go to those big cathedrals in London.
I’ve been there a number of times and those kinds of things. The pulpit’s over there and it’s a sidewall. And there’s some kind of an altar here, some kind of an altar to do things on. But the preaching of the word is over there somewhere.
You know what our forefathers did? They took these altars and they moved them out and they put the preaching of the word central again. It’s in the middle of our auditorium.
It’s in the middle of our platform. This is where the word of God has explained and preached. And as far as my conscience knows, for the 11 years this church has been around, not for one hour have we had somebody stand here who did not believe this gospel. You’ve got to believe this gospel to stand here and preach it from this book. So Paul says, not for one hour. I’m not even giving you that much time. All right.
So one more point, huh? Okay, let me go quickly. Six through 10. I take it as a group, but you’ll see it flows quickly and together. But now a little positive, okay? A little good news. The ultimate effect of the gospel. What’s the gospel supposed to do then?
Well, three things. Say the same thing, carry the same message and display the same purpose. Notice, first of all, in verse six, saying the same thing. So, but from those, he said, who seemed to be something, whatever they were, it makes no difference to me.
Stop. He means Peter. John, and James, and John, the big three, the inner circle, minus James the brother of John, and now the inclusion of James the half-brother of Jesus, that James. They were somebody.
They were important. But what does he mean when he says here that it makes no difference to me? I think what Paul is saying is they didn’t tell me anything new, and I didn’t tell them anything new. The Gospel is the Gospel. What Peter has preached since Pentecost, and what I’m preaching now since my experience on the Damascus Road, are one and the same Gospel. And so it didn’t add anything to me. I didn’t learn any new thing about, oh, the Gospel also has to include this, you know, nothing like that.
These men met and were in perfect agreement over these things. Then he says about, no matter how important you are, he says in the middle of that verse, God shows personal favoritism to no man. Isn’t that an interesting statement? Here’s your second grammatical point today. The word for face is in there. Your prosopon is the Greek word for face. God doesn’t care about your face.
That’s what it’s literally saying. God doesn’t care. It’s kind of their idiom, kind of their way of saying, you know, if I talk with you after church and I have a big smile on my face, or maybe, let’s put it the other way, you have a big smile on your face, I say, you really enjoyed my preaching, didn’t you? I may see you after church and you just look on your face and I say, oh man, you didn’t like it at all, did you? We say so many things with our face and we try to persuade. If I really wanted to persuade you to do something, am I going to come to you with a grumpy face?
No, I’m going to try to be real nice and, you know, charitable and so forth. God doesn’t need your facial expression to know what you are. You can’t fool God with your face. You can’t fool him with your status.
You can’t fool him with who you are and how important you are, how much money you have or anything like that. God is no respecter of persons. He knows you as an eternal soul that he died for. That’s what he knows. So that’s all that verse is saying about whether it’s Peter, James and John or the Apostle Paul or some of these other people there. That’s all he means.
They added nothing to me. We’re on the same page. I want to say this just right after that statement. A person who has the gospel right is my brother or sister.
I mean that. The gospel is simple. The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Maybe he doesn’t understand creation from Genesis 1 but he’s a believer and he needs to understand. But if he’s come to Jesus Christ as a savior, he’s my brother or my sister.
Now before you think I’ve gone off the rails here, hold on until I get to the next point, alright? So the second thing is in verses 7 and 8, we then carry the same message. So he says, but on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcised, that is to the Gentiles, had been committed to me the same as the gospel of the circumcised, that is to the Jewish people, was to Peter.
Notice the parenthesis. For he who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles. In other words, they’re preaching the same gospel.
I’m preaching the same gospel. I don’t know if you’ve been around the world somewhere, maybe on a mission trip or to a mission field and you go to church with people on the other side of the world. They don’t even speak their language.
I remember often going into a church service, well I don’t even speak the language, but I know the song they’re singing, I just don’t know their language. I know the book that they’re opening. I know what they believe and they’re my brothers and sisters. And so God is working in them to minister there and he’s working in me to minister over here.
It’s effective both way. One gospel to many people. I believe this, that God calls people to minister in areas where they are effective. So Peter would be effective to the Jews.
Paul would be effective to the Gentiles. And that’s where God placed them. And so we have preachers, we have missionaries that God calls because they’re going to be effective there whether you’re a deacon. We have people who are writers because they’re effective writers. We have scholars, we have builders, we have people who just witness for Christ, people who do a hospital call, people who use their home for hospitality.
All these kinds of things are how God has gifted a person to serve him. But we all preach the same gospel. And so if we preach the same message no matter how we serve, where we live, what our language is, we’re on the same page.
Number three, do we display the same purpose? So verses nine and ten. Now when James, Cephas and John again, these pillars, right, he calls them who seem to be pillars, not something you sleep on, this is something that supports you. Perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the Jews, to the circumcised.
They desired only. that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do, and that’s because there was famine in the land, there was persecution, Jews had been turned out of the synagogues and all of the rest, they were really under pressure, and you know in Paul’s life in his second and third journey, he’s taking up an offering constantly to take back to Jerusalem to the poor people, so he’s already of a mind to do this. But the point is that they came and said, let’s go before the congregation and let’s stand there before them, and I’m going to put out my right hand and you’re going to shake my hand. And these people who say you have to be circumcised to be saved and have to keep the law to be saved, we’re not giving our right hand to.
That you and I will. It’s kind of like in an ordination council when someone is going to be ordained to the ministry and other preachers come and they put their hands on them and pray for them. It’s kind of a similar thing, a right hand, a fellowship, saying that I agree with you and we are on the same page, a declaration you might say. And so here is a fellow believer. Now, I can have the right hand of fellowship with anyone who’s a Christian. I mean by that, they’re my brother in Christ.
I may disagree with them in a lot of different ways. But if they are truly saved, they’ll be in heaven with me too. And they’re a brother or sister to me. Now, listen, I may not be able to have ecclesiastical fellowship with them because if they’re preaching something that I think really is not correct in the Bible, I’m not going to have them at this desk. So I may not have that ecclesiastical. I may not want to be a member of their church because I can’t agree with the things they do in their church. That’s all right. I may not be able to cooperate with them in a broader ministry like missions or schools or support and things like that. That doesn’t mean I’m saying they’re not saved. It means that fellowship has different levels to it and that’s okay.
It has to have that. But when it comes to the right hand of Christian fellowship about the gospel, if somebody agrees with the gospel and what it takes to be saved, then I would shake their hand. And I’ve had coffee over my years of ministry a lot of times with guys that we disagreed with and laughed together. And I remember one couple that was in my church for a few weeks and then they left. They went to his church and he and I differed really a lot on theology and they went to his church for a while.
And then they left his church. We had coffee together because we played volleyball in the same league. And we laughed about, I don’t know why they could be in my church and then go to yours. He said, yeah, I don’t know how they can be in your church and come to mine. You know, brothers but disagreeing on some things. All right.
Let me, let me end quickly. So where’s your confidence? How do you know you’re going to heaven when you die? Are you sure of it? Can you say I know?
Why is that? Your faith in Jesus Christ to be your savior. You’ve turned your sin over to him and he’s given you eternal life. Let me read you this story. I printed it in a booklet, but this is a true story. In 1858, the steamship Austria caught on fire and sank in the Atlantic, killing 400 people.
The fact. One survivor though told of five Christian friends who stood between the fire behind them and the water before them. And they agreed that at the end, they would leap from the sinking ship together into the water. And when the time arrived, they joined hands. They looked at each other and just before jumping into the cold waters of the Atlantic, expressed their confidence that in just a few moments, they would all meet in heaven. Now I ask you, if you were there, would you have that kind of confidence? Could you do such a thing and know that in a few minutes you would exit this life and be in heaven? I’ve stood by a lot of bedside of dying people, dying Christians who said, I know that and I’m ready to go.
What a blessing that is, isn’t it? So everything else aside, folks, the gospel is when you die, will you go to heaven? Or will you miss it because of your own good works and your own religion or somebody else’s religion that they’ve invented? You need to know Jesus Christ as your Savior. I want you to stand with me now.
Thank you for that extra time. Let’s stand and let’s go to the Lord in prayer. We’re going to sing a song and our invitation is always open as we sing here in our auditorium. But you do what the Lord is leading you to do as we sing. Let’s pray together.
Now, Father, I pray that as we think about what we have read, how important are these words? The gospel of Jesus Christ in this world that is dying lost. They need the real gospel. Father, may it be true of us. May we know where we are going when we die. May we know the true gospel to help us, Father, to be preachers and ambassadors and witnesses of this gospel. Now, Father, I’m one preacher today and there are thousands across this world preaching the gospel. Thank you for them. So as the gospel goes out on a Sunday morning, as it always does, bless it and use it, Father, to bring souls to you. And Father, if someone within the sound of my voice doesn’t know Christ as their personal Savior, I pray that today would be the day. They come and see me or their pastor or whoever is speaking and they would find Christ a Savior. So bless as we sing and speak to our hearts. May you have your will and your way with us. Well, thank you for it in Jesus’ name. Amen.