Brookwood Church - Love God, Love People

Preserving Truth

Preserving Truth

JC Thompson |

Paul's involvement in the Jerusalem Council gives us a model for preserving the truth in our world today.

  1. Introduction (Galatians 2:1-10. C/R: Philippians 2:2)
  • Last week we continued our series entitled Living Free by understanding that Paul’s source of the gospel of Christ was from God Himself through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
  • But in this chapter, we begin to see what the nature of the gospel is, essentially when pointed at the issue of circumcision.
  • This is the point at which Paul comes into conflict with the circumcision party and the idea that Gentiles, after placing their faith in Christ, must be circumcised. This was plaguing the churches in Galatia.
  • It seems that few thought this conflict was as important as what we see it was looking back. Paul and Barnabas seem to be the ones mainly raising this issue and stepping into the conflict with the Judaizers.
  • In our age, we must seek to preserve the truth of the Gospel.
  • As human beings, the temptation to legalism and idolatry is inside of us.
  • We must remain steadfast in our understanding, proclamation, and activity of the truth of the Gospel.
  1. Preserving the truth involves…
    1. Stepping into conflict. (Galatians 2:1-2. C/R: Matthew 18:15; Revelation 3:19)

1Then fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas; and Titus came along, too. 2I went there because God revealed to me that I should go. While I was there I met privately with those considered to be leaders of the church and shared with them the message I had been preaching to the Gentiles. I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing. Galatians 2:1-2 (NLT)

  • Paul stopped his mission to go to Jerusalem for the council
  • God revealed to Paul to go
  • Aren’t we suppose to overlook an offense?
  • YES! But in order to overlook an offense we must 1. recognize it as sin. 2. Be willing to offer forgiveness
  • The Bible DOES call us to overlook offenses (Proverbs 12:16; 17:9,14; Matthew 5:39; 1 Corinthians 13:5)
  • That is not all the Bible calls us to do!
  • We are supposed to confront Christians in sin (Revelation 3:19; Proverbs 9:8; Matthew 7:5)
  • “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” Revelation 3:19 (NIV)
  • I think we often spend more time rebuking unbelievers than overlooking the sins of our brothers and sisters in Christ
  • We are called to confront and step into conflict.
  • Rebuking is a ministry of God
  • “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” Matthew 18:15 (ESV)
  • Conflicts are opportunities to experience the growth, grace, and mercy of God
  • We must either overlook or confront. We cannot procrastinate.
  • God does not give us the option of holding something against someone in private. (Dr. Robert Jones, Cover, Confront, but not Cook)
  • Paul attempts to do this privately first.
  • Paul is going because of the Revelation of God first, he perceives this because of not wanting to run in vain.
  • This is not defensive, thinking his gospel message in somehow lacking. 14 years.
  • He is doing this to make sure that the fruit of the ministry grows where he plants. It is proactive strategy.
  • APP: Is there some sin or hurt you are harboring against someone? Is there someone who is a professing Christian that God is calling you to step into the mess with?
  1. Securing the truth. (Galatians 2:3-5. C/R: Romans 2:24-25; 4:9-16, 14:5; Ephesians 2:8-9)

3And they supported me and did not even demand that my companion Titus be circumcised, though he was a Gentile. 4Even that question came up only because of some so-called Christians there—false ones, really—who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. 5But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you. Galatians 2:3-5 (NLT)

  • Paul brings along Titus, who is an uncircumcised Gentile.
  • Paul needed to bring along someone who had “skin in the game”
  • Peter, James, John, and Paul all agree
  • Paul suggests that requiring circumcision is placing an undue burden on the Gentiles, a yoke of slavery.
  • V. 5 This issue is important, because if Paul would have yielded, it would have hindered the Gentiles receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ. That includes us!

Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. 10 But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised! Romans 4:9-16 (NLT)

  • need to add something
  • not the moral law, the ceremonial law
  • ceremonial law - set you apart culturally. no way to do it.
  • all that work and you still couldn’t make be appropriate with God
  • Hebrews ceremonial laws (clean and unclean, dietary, clothing, circumcision, feasts and festivals, Sabbath, and firstborn
  • The ceremonial laws are discussed in Romans 14. Some argue that the Sabbath should be elevated because of it’s inclusion in the 10 commandments.

However, we learn that even the Sabbath was something that Paul later said was up to the individual to deal with the Holy Spirit and figure out what to do.

  • Is it helping me to love God and love others? Then practice it. (Romans 14:5)
  • Paul wanted to make sure that there was agreement on salvation by Christ alone, by faith alone, through grace alone, for the glory of God alone, we’ve been given assurance on this through the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit.
  • I think it is necessary for me to talk about something. Theology is important. Experience is important. They are meant to be teamed together.
  • C.S. Lewis describes Theology as a map. A map given by Christians throughout time with experiences of Christ and God. If we rely only on our experiences, we will get confused. If we rely only on our theology, we will never experience the joys of salvation. Like arriving at your destination but not experiencing the actual destination.
  • We need the map to point us to the experience and keep us on the path.
  • APP: Do you believe the Gospel to be true? How is affecting how you live everyday? Thank God for a moment for Paul’s bravery to bring Gentiles the Gospel.


  1. Striving for unity. (Galatians 2:6-9. C/R: Ephesians 2:19-22; 4:3; Philippians 2:1-2)



6And the leaders of the church had nothing to add to what I was preaching. (By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites.) 7Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. 8For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles. 9In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers. They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued their work with the Jews. Galatians 2:6-9 (NLT)

  • Paul in Chapter 1 distinguishes his call from the apostles
  • Paul in Chapter 2 connects them together.
  • “they added nothing”
  • this is crucial.
  • the Judaizers were claiming Paul needed to add to the Gospel
  • these leaders added nothing
  • “same call to different people”
  • they affirmed God’s call on Paul’s life to the Gentiles.
  • Not only did God call Paul, but the brethren recognized that call. They affirmed that call by the right hand of fellowship v. 9
  • This unity is important because it helps us to experience the joy of our salvation.
  • And our salvation is the foundation of our unity.
  • 1Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Philippians 2:1-2 (NLT)
  • This unity is important because we are a body of Christ. The temple of God.
  • 19So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20Together, we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself. 21We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22Through Him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 (NLT)
  • All who profess Christ are a part of the body.
  • Unity is so important for us. It is something that we should be proactively maintaining.
  • But we are not to produce Unity. Only Christ can produce Christian unity. Our only job is to maintain it.
  • We will not be united with those outside of our midst. We are called to love, but our source that unifies us is different.
  • But if anyone be in Christ, we are to maintain our unity.
  • Our unity is a witness to the world.
  • We must cross boundaries for the unity of Christ. Racial, ethnic, social, economic, experiential, geographic boundaries all must be crossed for the glory of Christ and as a witness to the world.
  • APP: Do you see yourself as a part of the body of Christ? How are you maintaining the unity of those around you? What is one person who is different than you that you can share a conversation about the blessings of Christ with this week?


  1. Sensing God’s direction. (Galatians 2:10. C/R: Mark 10:42-44; Romans 12:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:10)

10Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do. Galatians 2:10 (NLT)

  • Brothers recommended to Paul to remember the poor.
  • Each member of the Trinity listens to one another
  • God the Father listens to His Son (John 11:41-42)
  • God the Father listens to the Spirit (Romans 8:26-27)
  • God the Son listens to His Father (John 8:26; 14:24)
  • God the Spirit listens to both the Father and the Son (John 16:13)
  • We must listen to God and one another
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer in LIFE TOGETHER “Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by Him who is Himself the great listener and whose work they should share.”
  • 15Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Romans 12:15 (NLT)
  • It is crucial we understand the interconnectedness with one another. The truth of the gospel matters AND our relationship with one another.
  • Paul throughout his letters emphasizes giving to the poor
  • Not poor because of laziness, but helpless and needy 2 Thessalonians 3:10
  • This is also important because Paul would be emphasizing to the Gentiles to give of their income to the Jewish believers in Jerusalem.
  • Paul not only asked them to give to the Kingdom, but to the Kingdom work going on in another region of the world.
  • APP: What do you sense God is telling you to do? How are you helping the poor around you?
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