Living the Gospel
March 12, 2017
Scripture: Galatians 2:11-14
I. You live the Gospel by faith in Christ alone.
A. In vs. 11 Peter came up from Jerusalem for a visit to the church at Antioch. This was the church where Paul and Barnabas taught. Antioch was a city where 90 percent of the city was Gentile, and 10 percent of the city was Jewish. In Acts 11:26 we read that in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. They came up with a new word in Antioch to describe this group of Gentiles and Jews who had a common love for Jesus. That new word was the word Christian. But it was difficult for Peter to leave behind his Jewish traditions with Gentiles.
B. Paul boldly said that Peter was doing something wrong in vs. 11. We find out what was wrong in vs. 12: When Peter first got to Antioch he would eat with the Gentiles. But when some people visited the Antioch church from the Jewish church in Jerusalem Peter stopped eating with the Gentiles. When he ate food together with Gentiles, Peter was saying that these Gentiles belonged to God just as much as he did. He was living out the Gospel truth that both Jews and Gentiles are accepted by faith alone in Christ. But when he stopped eating with Gentiles Peter was not living according to the Gospel. He was saying the Gentiles needed something more than faith in Christ.
II. You live the Gospel by fearing God more than people.
A. Peter’s actions were wrong not just because of his not thinking through the implications of the Gospel. They were also wrong because of his fear of people. We see his fear in vs. 12. He feared the circumcision party. He was afraid of what they would think of him for eating with Gentiles. This was not the first time Peter was afraid of people. Do you remember what happened at Jesus’ trial? Peter denied even knowing Jesus because of his fear of people.
B. And Peter’s fear of people led him to stop eating with Gentiles in Galatians 2. Peter’s fear of people was apparently contagious. We read in vs. 13, “And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.” Peter and the other Jewish Christians knew the truth of the Gospel. They knew that God accepts people by faith alone in Christ. But they were acting like God only accepts people who follow certain food rules. And they acted that way because of their fear of people.
III. You live the Gospel by accepting people Jesus has accepted.
A. Jesus had given to Peter a wonderful gift to show that he had accepted Gentiles into his family. The gift Jesus gave Peter was a vision in Acts 10. In the vision God showed Peter a bunch of animals that Gentiles were free to eat, but Jews were not free to eat. Let’s read what happened next in Acts 10: 13-15: “And there came a voice to him: ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.’ And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’” Unfortunately, Peter had forgotten what he had learned from this vision when he went to the church at Antioch. He was acting like the Gentiles needed to do more than have faith in Christ to be accepted by Christ (Gal. 2:14).
Don’t just believe the Gospel. Live the Gospel in how you treat other people.
The letter to the Galatians
Commentaries on Galatians by Philip Graham Ryken and Douglas Moo