Grace on Trial

Grace on Trial

1. There are two underlying messages in the book of Galatians

A. Salvation by works

B. Spirituality by works

II. The defense of Paul's ministry

A. Religious leaders were coming against Paul's ministry as an apostle

B. Paul pointed out that his apostleship came from Jesus Christ and God the Father

Galatians 1:1 "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead)."

C. Paul's ministry did not come by men or by a man

III. Religion and tradition

Galatians 1:13-14"For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

And profited in the Jew's religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers."

A. Judaism is a religion

B. Anything outside Christianity is religion

C. A definition for religion is "traditions of men"

IV. Called by the grace of God

Galatians 1:15-16"But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,

To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen;  immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood."

A. It is by the grace of God that you are called

B. You have been separated from your mother's womb

1. You cannot work for the call

2. You cannot earn it

3. You do not deserve it

C. There is no preaching without revelation

D. Those called to the five-fold ministry should not bypass learning

E. Revelation from God is vital to ministering into the lives of others

V. The road to Damascus

Galatians 1:17"Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus."

A. Paul received the Lord on the road to Damascus

B. From Damascus, Paul left and went to Arabia for an undisclosed period of time

C. Paul then returned to Damascus

VI. Fourteen years after Paul's conversion he was virtually unknown

Galatians 1:18-22"Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

Afterwords, I came into the regions of Syria, and Cilicia;

And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ:

But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

And they glorified God in me."  

A. Paul's first trip to Jerusalem

1. Paul did not go before the church at Jerusalem

2. Paul did not go to any of the brethren

3. Paul did not go to any of the apostles except Peter and James

B. Paul's face was unknown in Judea when he returned fourteen years after his first trip to Jerusalem

VII. Judea in Paul's day

A. Ministers in Paul's day desired to go Judea

B. Judea was where all of the great leaders were

C. Judea was where the apostles were

D. Paul pointed out that he was not trying to open his own doors

E. Jerusalem was filled with people trying to get a position in ministry

VIII. God is the One Who promotes

A. There will always be a period of time when one who is called to the ministry is unknown

1. This is a period of time when nobody knows you

2. This is a period of time when nobody notices you

3. This is a period of time when you are behind the scenes

B. Moses was on the backside of the wilderness for forty years

1. God had to "sweat" Egypt out of him

2. God had to "sweat" his own strength out of him

3. God had to "sweat" his own effort out of him

4. God had to get him totally God-dependent

C. Nobody knew where David was or what he looked like

1. David was tending sheep for many years

2. God knew where David was while he was a shepherd

D. God knows where you are

1. Promotion does not come through your own effort

2. Promotion comes from God

IX. When Paul went to Judea it was for a specific purpose

X. Freedom is the theme of the book of Galatians

XI. Two major thrusts of legalism in the Jewish religion during Paul's time

A. One faction claimed that a person is saved by the works of the law

B. Another faction believed that a person is saved by faith but to really please God they must keep the law

XII. Legalism crept into the church at Galatia

A. Believers in the church at Galatia had been saved by faith

B. Some came into the church and put legalistic demands on believers

1. Men were told that they must be circumcised

2. Believers were told that they must keep the Sabbath

3. Believers were told that they must keep the feast day

4. Believers were told that they must keep the fast days

XIII. Two major churches at the time Galatians was written

A. The church at Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-10)

1. This was a predominately Jewish church

2. When the church at Jerusalem began, the people were sold out to the Word of God

3. When the church at Jerusalem began there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit

4. Legalism was not a part of the early church at Jerusalem

5. Jewish tradition was not a part of the early church atJerusalem

6. The early church at Jerusalem was growing rapidly because many people were getting born-again

7. Historically, between chapters 1 and 2 of Galatians, the church at Jerusalem had declined in walking in the truths of God's Word

a. Because the core of the church was predominately Jewish, Jewish traditions tried to come back into the church

b. The thinking started to become "Yes, we were saved by faith, but now we need to keep the law to be spiritual"

c. The Jerusalem church began to lose its power and freedom because of reverting back to the law and Jewish tradition

B. The church at Antioch (Galatians 2:11-21)

1. This was a predominately Gentile church

2. God raised up the church at Antioch, which was functioning in freedom like the church at Jerusalem had before it turned back to legalism and tradition

3. This church was bypassing the church at Jerusalem spiritually     

C. A great controversy began to arise between the church at Jerusalem and the church at Antioch

IX. Paul and Barnabas are called and separated (Acts 13)

A. Paul and Barnabas were called by God

B. Paul and Barnabas were separated by the Holy Spirit to the work that God had called them to

C. Paul and Barnabas set out on their first missionary journey

1. They first went to the island of Cypress

2. They later went to the region of Galatia

a. They went to Antioch in Pisidia

b. They went to Iconium

c. They went to Lystra

1. At Lystra, Paul was stoned to death

2. At Lystra, God raised Paul from the dead

d. They went to Derbe

X. Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch (Acts 14:21-23)

A. They exhorted the believers to continue in the faith

B. They ordained elders

C. They prayed for the believers

D. They commended them to the Lord

XI. Paul's second missionary journey (Acts 15-16)

A. Silas accompanied Paul on the second missionary journey

B. Barnabas took Mark and went in a different direction

C. Paul went again to the area of Galatia and this is where he met Timothy

XII. Council at Jerusalem

Acts 15:1       "And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved." 

A. "Certain men"

1. These men were false prophets

2. These men were leaders of the Jews

3. These men were not born again

4. They were teaching salvation by works

5. They were teaching that circumcision was necessary to salvation

Acts 15:2 "When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question."

B. Paul and Barnabas were based in the church at Antioch, which they had established

1. The "certain men" had introduced legalism to the believers at Antioch

2. It was determined that Paul, Barnabas and "certain other of them" (Titus and others) should go Jerusalem for a meeting with the apostles and elders concerning the issue circumcision

Acts 15:3 "And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles:  and they caused great joy unto all the brethren."

C. The church at Antioch sent Paul, Barnabas, Titus and others on their way to Jerusalem

Acts 15:4-6"And when they came to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter."

D. The apostles and elders came together in a private meeting

E. During the meeting, those present were disputing over whether or not circumcision was necessary in order to be saved

F. While everyone was debating the issue, Peter rose and spoke

Acts 15:7-9"And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith."

1. Peter reminds those present how God had called him to the Gentiles through a rooftop vision

2. Peter pointed out that there was no difference between Gentile believers and Jewish believers

3. Peter pointed out that the hearts of Cornelius and other Gentile believers had been purified "by faith 

Acts 15:10-11 "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."

 4. Peter exhorted the council that the Gentile believers should be an example to the church at Jerusalem

a. The Gentiles were living by faith

b. They were walking in grace

c. They were rejoicing in the God of their salvation

 Acts 15:12-19 "Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God of the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God."

G. James, who was the pastor at Jerusalem, addressed the council

Amos 9:11"In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old."

 1. James quotes from Amos 9:11

2. Reference is made to "the residue of men" which are the born-again Jews

3. Through the scripture in Amos, reference is made to the Church universal

 H. James made reference to the tabernacle of David

1. The tabernacle of David was unique

2. The ark of the covenant was no longer housed in a tent

3. David and the priests danced and rejoiced around the ark in their linen ephods

4. Men, women, Gentiles, Jews and people of different nationalities could stand around the ark

5. David's tabernacle is a type of the Church

F. The council at Jerusalem proved that salvation is by faith and faith alone

XIII. When Paul went back to Galatia a second time, there had been a rise of legalism

A. Following the council at Jerusalem

1. Men no longer opposed Paul face to face concerning circumcision/legalism

2. Men would wait until Paul left an area and then win many converts to Judaism

3. Men would wait until Paul left and instill legalistic thinking in the minds of the believers

B. Paul has Timothy circumcised

Acts 16:1-3 "Then came he to Derbe and Lystra:  and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed;  but his father was a Greek:

Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.

Paul wanted to have him go on with him.  And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek."

1. Timothy's father was Greek

2. In traveling with Timothy, Paul recognized that Timothy was not as strong as some of the other believers that had been around him

3. Because of the Jews in the area, Paul knew that Timothy would have attacks come against him

4. To relieve some of the pressure that Timothy would face from the Jews, Paul had him circumcised

XIV. Galatians gives a behind the scenes look of the council that met at Jerusalem

Galatians 2:1-2  "Then fourteen 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, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain."

A. The fact that it is mentioned that Titus went with Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem is key to this passage

B. Paul said that he "went up by revelation" which was referring to the Holy Spirit

1. The Holy Spirit directed Paul concerning who to take with him to Jerusalem

2. The Holy Spirit directed Paul in what to say while he was meeting with the council at Jerusalem

C. Paul spoke privately with the church leaders before he spoke to the congregation at Jerusalem

1. Paul "communicated unto them" which is a reference to the congregation at Jerusalem

2. Paul spoke "privately to them which were of reputation" which is a reference to the church leaders at Jerusalem

D. Paul knew that there were Pharisees present in the private meeting

E. It is important to work by the authority that God has placed in the church

1. Paul knew that what he was preaching was correct but before he went to the congregation with the message he went before the leadership

2. You should never claim that the Holy Spirit is leading you to teach something that is contrary to what a church is accepting unless it is cleared with the leadership first

Galatians 2:3-4"But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:  And because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage."

F. Paul brought Titus with him to Jerusalem because he was an uncircumcised Greek

1. Titus was a Greek

2. Titus was born-again

3. Titus was not circumcised

4. Titus was filled with the Holy Spirit and flowed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit

5. Titus had led people to the Lord and was helping establish churches

6. Titus stood as an example of why circumcision was unnecessary to salvation and being used by God

G. Religion brings bondage

Galatians 3:4"…that they may bring us into bondage."

1. Structure is not necessarily bondage

2. To do things decently and in order is not bondage

3. Adding rules and regulations to salvation is bondage

Galatians 2:5-10 "To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me:  God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (the Gentiles) was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (the Jews) was unto Peter;

(For he (the Holy Spirit) that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars (church leaders), perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do."

H. Those pressuring believers to be circumcised backed off for abshort time after Paul's visit to Jerusalem

I. The pressure for circumcision and the law in the church at Jerusalem continued to increase until even Peter backed down

XV. Titus

II Corinthians 7:13-16"Therefore we were comforted in your comfort:  yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit (attitude) was refreshed by you all.

For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.

And his inward affection (deep love) is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things."

A. Titus was sent by Paul to straighten out the church at Corinth because the believers had gotten off track

B. Titus was not intimidated by the problems or pressures in the areas that he was sent to by Paul

C. Titus was bold and was able to straighten out the most difficult problems in the churches

Titus 5, 9-14"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

For there are many unruly (rebellious) and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcsion:

One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies (lazy gluttons),

This witness is true.  Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

Not giving heed of Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth."

D. Paul sent Titus to Crete to straighten out the believers

Titus 5:9 "For this cause left I thee in Crete."

 Greek:  "…I deserted you at Crete."

E. The Corinthians were nothing compared to the saints on the island of Crete

F. Titus straightened out the believers at Crete in one year

G. Paul admonished Titus about training up the believers

Titus 1:9"…that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers."

1. "Convince" means to reprove or strongly correct

2. "Gainsayers" refers to those who rose up in opposition in the church at Crete

H. Some of the biggest problems were being created by religious Jews

Galatians 1:10 "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision."

1. The Jews were "unruly"

2. The Jews were "vain talkers"

3. The Jews were "deceivers"

I. Paul instructed Titus to stop those who were opposing the church in Crete      

Galatians 1:11"Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."

1. The false teachers would subvert or corrupt "whole houses" which refers to churches

2. Churches met in homes and the false teachers came into cause splits and divisions by promoting their own doctrine

3.  The bottom line of religion is money ("filthy lucre")

J. Paul instructed Titus to "sharply rebuke" those in the church at Crete

K. Titus loved the Lord, served God and came against the Jewish traditions that crept into the churches

L. Titus was never circumcised because he was not moved by the pressure of the religious leaders

XVI. The Jerusalem incident

Galatians 2:4"And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage."

A. False brethren came in secretly to the church to observe the freedom

1. They observed that the church did not meet on the Sabbath

2. They observed that Jews and Gentiles worshipped together

3. They observed that believers were not asked if they were circumcised

4. They observed that believers were not asked whether or not they kept the Law of Moses

5. They tried to cause dissention by raising questions to separate the Jews from the Gentiles in the church

Galatians 2:11-12"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles:  but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision."

B. Peter caused a division in the church at Antioch

1. When Peter first arrived in Antioch he ate with the Gentile believers

2. When some Jewish believers who were friends with James came to Antioch, Peter separated himself from the Gentile believers

3. Other Jewish believers followed Peter's example and separated themselves from Jewish believers

4. Barnabas even followed Peter's example

Galatians 2:13" And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation."

Dissembled: "hupokrisis" is the Greek word from which we get "hypocrite"

Dissimulation: meaning "hypocrisy"       

Galatians 2:13"And the other Jews became hypocritical likewise with him (Peter); insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their hypocrisy."

C. Paul corrected Peter before the congregation and not privately

1. Peter's decision caused a rift between the Jewish and Gentile believers in the church

2. Peter was a leader in the church

3. Because of his position in the church, Peter had to be corrected in the manner in which Paul corrected him


Entering the Land of Abundance

Entering the Land of Abundance