Summary: What the church needs to accomplish the mission of Jesus
Accomplishing the Mission of Jesus
Several years ago a phenomenon took place. It is called Starbucks Coffee. Most everyone has probably heard of Starbucks. If you are like me then you have contributed greatly to its success. Starbucks Coffee has become well known name. It is not unusual to see Starbucks in TV shows and movies.
Starbucks started as a single store in Seattle’s waterfront. Today it has grown into a business with over 1600 stores nationally and a new store opens every single business day. It employs over 25,000 people.
The success of Starbucks can be summed up with three things. It offers a good product. They meet people where they are. They care about both their customers and their employees. Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, shares the success story in his book, Pour Your Heart Into It.
The success of Starbucks reminds me of the amazing success of the early church recorded in the book of Acts. The early church started with a small band of misfits that would eventually turn the world upside down. How did they do it? How did they turn the world upside down? They understood that they, the church, were called to accomplish the mission of Jesus.
Even though the early church had great success, they were not without their challenges. One of those challenges we have been noticing in our study of the book of Galatians. The challenge that the early church was facing, a challenge that is still with us today, was and is the nature of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
From the very beginning the church had to fight the onslaughts against true doctrine. One of the ways that the devil attacks the church is through doctrine. For the Galatian controversy, it was an attack against the gospel. The false teachers that were affecting the Galatian believers were teaching that Jesus was not enough for salvation. For a person to be saved one must also be circumcised and follow Jewish Law to be saved. That, beloved, is a false gospel.
Paul has been defending the gospel from the very start of chapter one. He has declared that salvation is through Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone. In defense of the gospel Paul has declared that his gospel finds its source in God, not man. Paul didn’t receive the message of the gospel from man, but from God.
In the second chapter of Galatians Paul continues to defend the fundamental truth of the gospel. In verses one through ten Paul shows how the apostles in Jerusalem gave him the right hand of fellowship concerning the message that he preached.
In these ten verses, there are some principles that are essential for the church to accomplish the mission of Jesus. If a church is going to accomplish the mission of Jesus then a church must be theologically sound.
I. Theologically Sound
We read in verse one, “Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also.” Once again we see how the Lord led Paul in the past. In the previous chapter Paul spoke about going to Arabia, and then returning to Damascus. Three years after conversion he then went up to Jerusalem. Most likely, the visit to Jerusalem that he speaks of in chapter one is the one recorded in Acts 9:26-30.
In chapter two Paul talks about fourteen years later returning to Jerusalem. There is debate over what visit that Paul is speaking of in chapter two. We have record of a visit to Jerusalem in Acts chapter eleven where Paul and Barnabas went with money to help the poor who were suffering on account of a famine. Some believe that Paul is speaking of that visit here. Others believe that Paul is speaking of the visit to Jerusalem that is recorded in Acts chapter fifteen. I tend to lean towards the latter because it fits the context better.
In verse two Paul makes it very clear that his going to Jerusalem was a direct order from the Lord, “It was because of a revelation that I went up.” God was the one leading Paul’s life. Man didn’t tell him to go to Jerusalem, God did. Just as Paul received the message of the gospel from a revelation of Jesus Christ, his going to Jerusalem came from Jesus Christ also.
Paul gives the basis for the scheduled visit to Jerusalem in verse two, “It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach to among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running or had run, in vain.”
The matter at hand is the nature of the gospel. That is what Paul has been defending sense chapter one. Paul says he first met with the leadership in Jerusalem to submit his message of grace to them. His concern, he says is, “fear that I might be running or had run in vain.” One might read those words and suppose that Paul is concerned that he had been preaching the wrong gospel all these years. That is far from the case.