Evidence Of The Gospel | Galatians 1-2:16

Galatians 1-2:16 | Evidence Of The Gospel

Paul founded the Galatian churches in his first mission trip and preached salvation in the name of Jesus Christ. However, false prophets came from the Jerusalem and told them that they need Jesus plus the Jewish religious practices like circumcision, sabbath laws and dietary laws. Apostle Paul is writing this letter to address this heresy and tell that the true gospel is salvation in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ alone, nothing else. In Galatians 1 to Galatians 2, apostle Paul is giving us the evidence of the gospel.

Paul was concerned about the truth of the gospel which was being distorted. See how Paul gives his defense and gives evidence of the gospel.

1. The Transformation Of His Personal Life

Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers and sisters with me,

Paul Is An Apostle.

Also, Paul Is Not Sent From Men But By Jesus Christ And God The Father.

And, Paul Is Not Alone In His Proclamation.

Paul has other brothers and sisters from the church of Antioch approving his gospel.

Finally, Paul Had Clear Revelation.

Apostle Paul is mentioning a couple of times in Galatians 1 and 2 regarding his revelation. In Galatians 1, Paul talks about his revelation in regard to the Damascus road experience.

Galatians 1:15-16 15But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.

Galatians 2:1-2 1Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2I went in response to a revelation

Paul went to Jerusalem because of a revelation.

Paul is portraying his new life narrative, cross-shaped life as a constant response to hearing from God.

If you have a problem with Paul’s message that is a revelation form God problem, not Paul’s apostolic mission.

Now in the name of revelation a lot of people do a lot of things. Listen, we do not need any fresh revelation. All that we need to know about Christ is there in the scripture. Even if we get any new revelation, it has to be tested and passed based on the standard of the scripture. This is our yardstick, this is our rule book and our daily life has to have fresh revelation of God from his word.

A cross-shaped life has a daily revelation of Jesus from the word of God.

Paul worked With The Approval/Recognition Of Church Leadership.

Paul Worked With The Approval Of The Church Leadership both in Jerusalem and Antioch. A true Christian ministry is a complementary ministry. We work in approval with the godly leadership established in the church. We at City Harvest have a lot of members who are in full time ministry. They are leaders of various ministry organizations and parachurch ministries. We have no problem here whatsoever because we have mutual approval and accountability.

However in my 20+ years of pastoral ministry, I have seen ministers who are not accountable. They do ministry with money power, with influence, without ethics and they are not accountable to anyone. This is not a pattern of cross-shaped life and ministry. They do it for their selfish motives and we need to be careful.

Apostle Paul went for all his mission trips from Antioch and he came back and reported his ministry to the church. When the church at Antioch sent Paul with the famine aid to Jerusalem in Acts 11, Paul and Barnabas finished their mission in Jerusalem and returned back to Antioch.

In Galatians 2, Paul says that Paul and the Jerusalem leadership are in the same page.

Galatians 2:1-2 1Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.

Galatians 2:9 James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.

Paul always worked with the church leadership. In this instance, the revelation of God in Paul is recognized and seen and affirmed by the Jerusalem leadership. Here the Jerusalem church has recognized Paul’s ministry.

Paul is a God Pleaser.

Be A God Pleaser, Not A Man Pleaser.

Paul was a God pleaser, not a man pleaser. Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Apostle Paul’s primary defense in giving the evidence of the gospel is his transformed lie.

2. The Gospel Is God’s Initiative In Rescuing The Word.

Galatians 1:3-5 3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Here Paul is giving us the whole gospel.

What is the gospel? What is the heart of the Christian message? Jesus who is sent by the Father doing everything for mankind.

Jesus Who Is The Lord And Savior Brings Solution For Our Sins By Rescuing Us From The Present Evil Age.

That rescue act comprises of Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension.

God’s Initiative Through Jesus Christ

Galatians 1:3-4 3 …..Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father….

a. Jesus Gave Himself For Our Sins According To The Will Of The Father.

First, notice that Jesus was a willing sacrifice. God the Father has allowed Jesus to died and rescue mankind from their sins. Mark records Jesus’ words: Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

John the Gospel writer says Jesus’ words: John 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

b. Jesus Rescues Us.

Notice the purpose of the sacrifice:

Galatians 1:3-4 3….Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father..

“..to rescue us from the present evil age.”

Jesus Christ did a rescue mission on the cross.

The word ‘rescue ‘is a strong Greek word. It’s the same idea used in describing the Israelites being rescued from Egypt, or Peter being rescued from prison, or Paul being rescued from an angry mob.

Illustration: There are highly trained rescue dogs that rescue stranded people in the forests. I have seen many fire fighters who have gone to rescue the trapped people of the building but end up dying because of suffocation and toxic inhalation. I have also heard reports of people who went to rescue others from drowning end up being drowned. Our rescue has a limitation.

Jesus is not on a physical rescue mission. Jesus is on a spiritual rescue mission, that rescue also has a future bodily resurrection.

Because of our sin, we are separated from God and we can’t be good enough to earn the relationship back. But Jesus died on the cross, for our sins, in our place, to pay our debt.

Illustration: Imagine going to a doctor with a sprained ankle and the doctor says, “I’ll take that for you.” Immediately your foot feel fine but you notice the doctor is limping. Jesus, the only Person in all of history that didn’t deserve to go to hell. It was the only Person that fulfilled the law perfectly. He never sinned. But on the cross, He took our sins in order to give us His righteousness and rescue us from this evil age:

Colossians 1:13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.

Jesus’ Rescues Mission

  • Motive For The Rescue – By The Grace And Mercy Of God
  • How Does Jesus Rescue? – Through Substitution.
  • From What Does Jesus Rescue Us? – From The Present Evil Age

We are rescued from the present evil age now, by the death of Jesus and our belief in him.

When you become a Christian, the things that are going to happen at the coming of Christ, are already beginning to happen now. When you become a child of God, God loves you as much now as he will at his coming. You are no more in condemnation. So, live as the children of light.

Why did Jesus do this? Sheer grace. We didn’t deserve it. We couldn’t earn it. But God accepted the work of Christ on the cross on our behalf. This was the will of the Father who loves you so much he rather dies than live without you:

For Paul, Resurrected Life Means:

  • A New Life
  • New Economy
  • A New Way Of Being
  • New Way Of Doing
  • A New Way Of Relating
  • New Way of Thinking

3. The Purity Of The Gospel Must Be Upheld At Any Cost.

Paul is talking about the importance Of True Teaching. The purity of the gospel must be upheld at any cost. There must not be any compromise in that part.

Galatians 1:6-7 6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Live For The Truth Of The Gospel

Galatians 2:3-5 3Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

A cross-shaped believer will live for the truth of the gospel.

When Paul first went to Jerusalem, it was agreed upon that gentiles need not be circumcised because we are saved only by faith in Jesus. But false prophets had gone from the same Jerusalem church talking against Paul and adding Jewish circumcision, sabbath and dietary laws. When Paul saw that the truth of the gospel has been distorted, Paul voiced it out.

Galatians 2:3-5 3Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

Some false brothers wanted Titus to be circumcised while were at Jerusalem. They did not do it and the church agreed for the same. Now the same church is sending people asking for the laws of Moses to be implemented. Paul spoke out.

The truth of the gospel is that which led to his confrontation of Peter and Barnabas in v11. Galatians 2:11-16 11When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? 15“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith inChrist and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

Truth of the gospel is what God is doing in building one multiethnic, multinational people in Christ. The Christian church cannot be in a position to favor one group over the other. We focus on one group or one language over the other, then we are distorting the truth of the gospel.

Paul Is Taking A Dig At Galatians Tendency To Hero Worship.

Galatians 2:6-9 6As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. 7On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. 8For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9James, Cephasand John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.

Paul is taking a dig at the Galatians because of their tendency to hero worship.

These high flying, very very, interesting and well-connected people have come from the Jerusalem church, and the Galatians are taking this in. This gets at all the notions having to do with the image. I seem to be somebody if I appear to have good connections. Paul is taking a dig at them for this. These big shots from the Jerusalem church. Paul on the other hand is constantly highlighting the gospel itself. He makes himself less and less of an issue. It is interesting because it is a ministry mode based on new creation realities based on doing ministry from the posture of the cross.

We see a lot of examples in the world of ministry modes that are shaped by corrupted ways of thinking, corrupted postures. They come from the present evil age where we tend to have a whole lot of respect for people based on their credentials, based on their personal chrism, based on their accomplishments, not a Pauline way of thinking about ministry. At any rate, Paul is not going after the Jerusalem leaders, but he is taking a dig here at the Galatians who are perhaps succumbing to the credentialization instead of the truth of the gospel. Paul says that these Jerusalem pillars added nothing to me, v6-9. There was affirmation based on the recognition of the work of God.

The Only One Priority Of The Gospel Is To Remember The Poor.

They asked Paul for one priority: the only thing that the Jerusalem leadership added was they asked used to remember the poor. V10. One thing both the mission to the Jews and the mission to the gentiles agree upon is on the priority of the poor. Thank about our present situations and countries, politics and churches which are focused on economies, focused on growth etc. For God’s people the poor are a massive priority. 

Paul did that for the poor in Jerusalem. This is a general orientation of the ministry, wherever the gospel was preached, wherever there was a church planted, there must be the priority of taking care of the poor. Another way in which resurrection life is experienced by God’s people has everything to do with wholistic modes of existence. It is not the case that these are practices that we should be doing because God has done so much for us, it is more the case that we enjoy the presence of God fully inhabiting our communities because we are part and parcel of the new creation and one strategic way for our full enjoyment of that is practices of generosity, and practices of helping others who have nothing and are social outcasts.

Paul is not only giving us a defense of his apostolic ministry, but Paul is also showing us his own life as a picture of the transforming power of that the gospel does for us.

Result Of True Gospel

Do you know what happens when we live in our Christian authority, live in the right doctrine and bear testimony to the position we have in Christ? God Is Glorified

God Is Glorified.

When We Live A New Life In Christ, God Is Glorified.

Galatians 1:3-5 3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The glory of God has to do with humanity. People are the image of God, they are the glory of God. They are to glorify God.

Irenaeus 130 AD, the Greek bishop, a student of Polycarp, who is a student of John the Apostle “the glory of God is man fully alive.”

When we oversee God’s peace, God’s rule on the earth is what the glory of God looks like. We glorify God in that way. Also, Paul sees that when gentiles turn to Christ, God is glorified. When we are in Christ, God is glorified.

God Is Praised.

See what Paul says happened when Paul did his ministry? Galatians 1:24 They praised God because of me.

God’s name is glorified and praised. Our new life in Christ becomes a glory and praise for our almighty God who sent His Son, Jesus Christ to redeem us. It is God’s will that the whole earth turn to God and bring glory and praise to His name. Amen.

We need to have life shaped by the cross, we need to have identity shaped by the cross, then we enjoy the resurrection power that brings renewal, restoration, redemption in the glorification of God.

As Christians, we are to hold loosely the institutional aspects that creep into our identity.

  • Denomination loyalties
  • Doctrinal heritage loyalties
  • My church
  • Seminary
  • Theology orientation

It is very easy for us to develop a loyalty and develop a passion for a subgroup within the large Christian church and then kind of construct my identity based on my loyalty to that subgroup. Our passion to the denomination does not reflect our love for God and that will not give God’s blessings. Institutions can be for our blessings, but too much emphasis on institution can become a dynamic for the present evil age if we do not regard them properly.

We need to make sure that our identity is genuinely shaped by the cross.

Galatians 2:1-10 1Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. 3Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

6As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. 7On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. 8For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9James, Cephasand John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. 10All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.

Main point: His gospel and his apostolic commission is not from men but from God.

The cross is the central image or symbol of Christianity. In the Greco-Roman world in which Jesus lived and died, the cross was an instrument of great suffering and shame. Under the Romans, crucifixion was regarded as a terrible punishment visited upon rebels and slaves. One ancient writer called it the “cruelest punishment.” It was a public event, meant to deter possible troublemakers from rebellion or criminal behavior. For people in Jesus’ time and place, crucifixion symbolized terror and shame, not identity and hope.

The startling transformation of the cross as a symbol came about through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We as believers of the Lord Jesus Christ have our identity shaped by the cross.

Cross-Shaped Life

The Scottish minister, P.T. Forsythe, said, “The secret of the Lord is with those who have been broken by His cross and healed by His Spirit.”

We are in a series from the epistle to Galatians. Galatians exalts these two things:

  • The cross of Christ as the only way a person can get right with God.
  • The Spirit of Christ as the only way a person can obey God.

Anything that diminishes the beauty and all-sufficiency of what happened on the cross of Christ is anathema/hateful to Paul.

Takeaway Points

  • We Need To A Personal Revelation Of Jesus.
  • Be A God Pleaser
  • The Gospel Is All About The Work Of Christ
  • Life Is Not Oriented By The Old World And Old Ways.
  • Community Life And Life In Christ Is Lived In Response To Revelation From God, Not As A Response To Human Wisdom.
  • A Life Like This Results In The Glory Of God On The Part Of Church.
  • Uphold The Purity Of The Gospel.
  • Do Not Given Into Christian Hero Worship
  • The Priority Of The Gospel Is To Remember The Poor

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