Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Living Above The World - Galatians

Galatians 2:10

Remember The Poor

To remember the poor is written in the Mosaic Law: Deut. 15:11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. This is not simply a New Testament command but a command for all time.

Zophar accused Job of oppressing the poor, and he, no doubt, thought that this was the sin that brought God's anger against Job and gave him his great illness: Job 20:19 Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not; This was considered a great sin against God then, and it is also considered a great sin today. However, Job answered to him, Job 29:16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.

The wicked persecute the poor in their pride: Psalm 10:2 The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. These will be taken in their own devices.

A strong statement is made in Prov. 14:31 He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor. I would never want to reproach my Maker, and neither would Paul the Apostle; and he was very knowledgeable of this scripture, I am sure.

Again Jesus says in Matt 26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. So, we have a perpetual privilege and command that we should remember the poor, for they are among us and always will be with us.

Now Paul later on was involved in collecting money for the benefit of the poor saints (Rom. 15:26 et al). Thus, in our text the Apostles at Jerusalem encourage Paul and his company to remember the poor, which Paul and his company were forward (diligent) to do. It is, then, the commandment of the Law and the commandment of Christ to remember the poor.

James says that we have despised the poor (James 2:3). We as God's children should never be guilty of that, for we must remember that . . . every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:12). Thus, Paul and we ourselves are forward to do.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Living Above The World - Galatians

Galatians 2:6-9

The Equal Ground

Paul at no time thought of himself as being superior to anyone else; neither did he consider others to be superior to him. The only exception is on the occasion that he expresses his energy in exercising the Jews' religion -- Phil. 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

In the flesh he was more adept, more scholarly, more energetic, and more intentioned than anyone else in his religion; but in the Gospel Paul did not rely on the flesh but on God alone. Even the Apostles were off limits to his investigation. He trusted only God, for it was God who called him. No one intimidated him, nor were they seemingly intimidated by him. They all stood on equal ground before God: they owed it all to God and not man. Those who seemed to be "somewhat" were nothing to Paul (verse 6).

The Effectual Work

The Apostles "saw," or understood and were persuaded, that the Gospel of the uncircumcision (Gentiles) was committed to Paul, and they also "saw," or understood, that the Gospel to the circumcision was committed to Peter. Both Peter and Paul were persuaded (and so were the other Apostles) that the Holy Spirit (rendered by "he" in verse 8) had brought about effectually in both of them their calling to the Jews and the Gentiles respectively.

The Earnest Consent

Then a final decision was made for Peter that he and his followers were to evangelize the circumcision (Jews), and Paul and his company were to evangelize the uncircumcision (Gentiles). Thus the missionary direction was laid down for all time thence forward. Our evangelism is in tact; our plan is clear: we must evangelize the whole world (both Jew and Gentile) for the glory of God. Paul and Barnabas were given the right hand of fellowship for the approval to do this work of God planted in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Living Above The World - Galatians

Galatians 2:5

No Subjection

In the last lesson we considered that there were some false brethren who were come in privately to spy out our liberty in Jesus Christ that we might be brought under bondage; that is, bondage to the law, to Judaism, to this crumbling and rejecting world.

We have not received the spirit of bondage to fear but rather the spirit of adoption, whereby we know that we are the children of God (Rom. 8:15). We, along with all creation, will be delivered from this bondage of corruption one day when Jesus returns (Rom. 8:21). That is living above the world, because that deliverance is past, present, and future: 2 Cor, 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us. We have been delivered by faith in Jesus Christ, we are being delivered by the seal of the Holy Spirit, and we shall be delivered physically out of this world by the return of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful life, this life above the world!

Therefore, Paul says in our text that we are not to give place (or allow or acquiesce) to this bondage of the world which the false brethren might bring upon us if we compromise, no, not for an hour. One hour can make a tremendous difference in one's life, so we cannot and will not bend or bow to the worldly likes of false brethren brought in so that we might be under bondage. We are to be subject to higher powers, for they are ordained of God (Rom. 13:1). We are to be subject (as churches) to Christ (Eph. 5:24). We are to be subject to our masters (1 Peter. 2:18), and we are to be subject one to another (1 Peter 5:5); but we are not to be subject to church bosses or self-proclaimed church leaders, which many times bring in heresy to our churches and corrupt the true Baptist perspective. A one-hour sermon has changed many a young mind from truth to error; and once that mind change has come, bringing it back to truth is very difficult.

The truth of the Gospel is at stake. We dare not allow antinomians, legalists, and perfectionists in our pulpits, no, not even for an hour. It will be like water poured out on the ground: it will be very difficult to get it back into the bucket. Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. Pastors, our people are counting on us to give them the truth. The truth will set us free. Thank God! Preach the word!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Living Above The World - Galatians

Galatians 2:1-4

Paul has been living above the world, manifested by his faith in Jesus Christ, which came through Jesus' personal revelation of himself to Saul (Paul). He was living above the world when he pronounced the true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, iterating that there is only one Gospel, whether it be preached by Paul, Peter, James, John, or anyone else.

In this devotion we find that now Paul, by the leadership of God (above the world), goes to Jerusalem to communicate the Gospel to those at Jerusalem. He took Barnabas and Titus with him. He spoke publicly to all the disciples, but he communicated with the apostles one by one, verifying that the Gospel which Paul preached is precisely the same Gospel that is being preached at Jerusalem by the other apostles.

Titus, who was a Greek (Gentile), was not required by the apostles at Jerusalem to be circumcised, because they all understood the freedom that the Gospel enabled for every believer and because there were many at Jerusalem who had feigned faith in Jesus Christ in order that they may bring into bondage again those who had left the ordinances which were shadows of good things to come, they being fulfilled in the work of Jesus Christ.

Many Legalists would love to bring believers back under the bondage of the law, requiring not only circumcision, but also celebration of holidays and symbolisms. Even in our day some "Jewish Christians" would love for our churches to take up the celebration of their Jewish holidays and symbolisms: I get printed material often which give evidence of this.

Gal. 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

Let us live above the world under the auspices of the great Gospel of Jesus Christ which was received from God above and not from men. Let us understand that our Gospel is a heavenly one and has set us free from the law. Rom. 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Sin has no more power over us: Rom. 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

If sin has no more power over us and we are free from the law, then let us live in liberty above the world to the glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Living Above The World - Galatians

Galatians 1:11-24


Paul here is reiterating, or certifying, that the gospel that he preaches is not of man. Its origin is from above, above the world. The gospel we preach is not our gospel but God's gospel. This gospel is not "of," or "according to" (kata) man. Paul did not receive it from (para) man. The gospel was revealed only "by" (di) Jesus Christ.

PAUL'S EXAMPLE (vss 13-24)

This is the crux and the force of Paul's argument. His dedication and certification to the gospel is shown in his change of life. If the gospel does not change a life, then it is not truly in force in a man's life.

Paul's Previous Life, 13-14

Paul's conversation (or way of life) in the past was in the Jews' religion, and that religion persecuted Jesus and the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul went beyond the very religion itself and appended to it persecutions that were "beyond measure," or beyond the measure of the law that was in force against the way of Christ.

This excess shows in three ways: (1) Going "beyond measure," which we have already considered; (2) He profited in the Jews' religion more than any other person had ever done; and (3) Paul was "more exceeding zealous" of the Jews' traditions.

Paul's Changed Life, 15-19

But something happened to Paul: he was immediately changed by God's pleasure, God's separation, God's calling, and God's revelation (see also verse 12). God revealed his Son in Paul (read Acts 9:1-9), that he might preach Jesus among the heathen (Gentiles); and when God revealed Jesus to him, he did not seek out flesh and blood, including the apostles at Jerusalem, but went into Arabia to be taught of the Lord himself. Many believe that he spent three years in Arabia being taught of the Lord (reference is here to verse 18).

Paul's Confirmed Message, 20-24

Because he was taught the message by the Lord himself, Paul's message is not a lie (vs 20). Paul kept himself far away from most men, especially of the apostles; so he was unknown by face to the churches of Judaea. They had only heard of him, but the message was a good one. They had heard that the man who once persecuted the churches is now preaching "the faith," that form of doctrine that is true to Jesus Christ's message to Paul and the other apostles, the same message to both. He preaches the faith that he once destroyed. Then they glorified God in that knowledge. Who, having the true Spirit of God, would not glorify God in the truth of the message of the gospel? Certainly God is glorified every time the gospel is preached; therefore, we should all be witnesses of the one and only true gospel of Jesus Christ, which is revealed, not by men, but by the grace of God. To him be glory forever!