Summary: Paul accepted by the Apostles. (Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: email@example.com)
(1). Meet the cast:
• Peter, John & James.
• ‘False believers’.
(2). Drama in three parts:
• Act 1: Paul’s Coming (vs 1-2a).
• Act 2: Paul’s Companion(s) (vs 3-5).
• Act 3: Personal Confirmation (vs 6-10).
• A reporter was interviewing an old man on his 100th birthday, he asked him:
• “What are you most proud of?”
• “Well”, said the man, “I am proud that I don’t have an enemy in the world.”
• The reporter replied. “What a beautiful thought! How inspirational!”
• Then the centenarian said with a smile on his face:
• “Yep, I have outlived every last one of them.”
• The apostle Paul had enemies,
• They were the bane of his life and ministry.
• Wherever he went, it was only a matter of time before these enemies showed up!
• Whenever he planted a Church in some locality,
• Sooner rather than later false teachers blended in and started distorting it.
• At first they tried to discredit Paul’s message;
• And then they challenged Paul’s authority.
• One of the ways they challenged Paul’s authority;
• Was to hint that Paul’s gospel (the message he preached) was different to Peter’s;
• And that Paul’s gospel was also different to the other apostles back in Jerusalem.
Quote: John Stott:
• “They were trying to disrupt the unity of the apostolic circle.
• They were openly alleging that the apostles contradicted one another.
• Their game, we might say, was not “robbing Peter to pay Paul,”
• But exalting Peter to spite Paul!”
(1). Meet the cast:
• Before we try and make sense of these verses;
• Let’s take a few moments to ‘meet the cast’,
• To look briefly at the people mentioned in these verses.
FIRST: WE HAVE THE APOSTLE PAUL.
• He has previously in chapter 1 told us about his dramatic conversion to Christ,
• He has also told us a little bit regarding his calling into the ministry.
• Remember he did not choose to become a Christian preacher;
• He started out as a persecutor of Christians;
• But one day all that changed when God converted him!
• And God commissioned him with a particular calling, a particular vocation.
• He was to take the message of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.
Now don’t skip over that last word ‘Gentiles’ (non-Jews);
• It might not sound very radical to you and me;
• But at this time and in this culture it was very radical!
• We might say it was a real ‘hot potato’.
• Had that apostle Paul just preached this message to other Jews,
• Then he would not be fighting these enemies,
• In fact he would be ‘flavour of the month’ with them.
• But because he shared the message of Christ with Gentiles (non-Jews);
• He was in big trouble with these enemies;
• These Judaizers (meaning: "to live according to Jewish customs").
SECOND WE HAVE BARNABUS:
• Barnabas, he was a devout Jewish Christian,
• He was a well-known respected man of God.
• He was very important to the apostle Paul in particular;
• Because when Paul got converted not everyone believed it was genuine.
• Many Christians thought Paul's conversion was just a trap;
• He would mix with them, find out who they were and then capture them.
• It was Barnabus who accepted Paul and stood by him,
• And then became his first partner in the ministry (Acts chapter 11 verses 22-30).
• The name Barnabus means ‘Son of Encouragement’;
• And you always find him living up to his name – encouraging someone.
• A man said to evangelist Billy Graham on one occasion;
• “That God had given him the gift of criticism”.
• Billy replied: “You may have the gift but it did not come from God!”
• Question: When was the last time you encouraged someone?
• Do it! It is such a neglected ministry!
Barnabus is often linked with Gentiles:
• i.e. It was Barnabus who enlisted Paul to help minister at the Church in Antioch;
• Acts chapter 11 verses 25-26.
• i.e. Barnabus who also accompanied Paul on his first missionary trip.
• Acts chapter 13 verse 1 to chapter 14 verse 28.
THIRD: WE HAVE TITUS:
• Titus was a Gentile, a non-Jew who got converted and became a Christian.
• Titus chapter 1 verse 4 tells us that Titus was actually converted through Paul’s ministry.
• And that is one of the reasons Paul will take him with him;
• When he goes up to visit the Church at Jerusalem.
• We might say Titus was exhibit A.