Summary: . What is the effect of walking inconsistently? Why do we walk inconsistently? How does God say we should be walking?
AN INCONSISTENT WALK
But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" – Galatians 2:14
Introduction: A man was sitting at a stop light one morning. The lady in front of him was going through papers on the seat of her car, and when the light changed to green, she did not obey its command. She remained in her idle position until the light turned red again. So he began screaming epithets and beating on his steering wheel. His expressions of disgust were interrupted by a policeman, gun drawn, tapping on his window. Against his protests of, “You can’t arrest me for hollering in my car,” the officer ordered him into the back seat of his police car. After about two hours in a holding cell, the arresting officer advised him he was free to go. He said, “I knew you couldn’t arrest me for what I was yelling in my own car. You haven’t heard the last of this.” The officer replied, “I didn’t arrest you for shouting in your car. I was directly behind you at the light. I saw you screaming and beating your steering wheel, and I said to myself, “What a jerk. But there is nothing I can do to him for throwing a fit in his own car.” Then I noticed the cross hanging from your rear view mirror, the bright yellow “Choose Life” license tag, and the “Jesus Is Coming Soon” bumper sticker, and I thought you must have stolen the car.” – (Copied)
When Paul went to Jerusalem he found inconsistencies within the church there. Paul knew that the proper standard of conduct is “the truth of the gospel” (v.14). As Paul analyzed the situation, He saw that Peter and the others “were not straightforward.” We get our word “orthopedic” from the Greek word used here (orthopodeo). They were not walking straight with their feet, but contrary to the truth of the Gospel. They were being inconsistent in their behavior. We need to examine our walk to insure that we are not sending the wrong message to those with whom we have daily contact. What is the effect of walking inconsistently? Why do we walk inconsistently? How does God say we should be walking?
I. The effect of walking inconsistently.
A. We must understand that there are three kinds of believers in church: Believers, Unbelievers, and Make-believers. (Kent Crockett’s Sermon Illustrations) Those who are Make-believers influence both the believers and unbelievers with their inconsistencies.
B. It causes believers to join in our inconsistencies.
1. Galatians 2:11-14 “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?”
2. In 1520 one man brought smallpox to Mexico, where it cost three and one half million deaths. Another man, who landed in England in 1348, was responsible for spreading the Black Death, "Bubonic Plague," the greatest killer Great Britain has ever known. Likewise, one inconsistent or disloyal church member can hurt the whole church. Listen to Paul: "...if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." (1 Corinthians 12:26). It does not take many bullets from a rifle to kill a man. One bullet can kill. It does not take many deadly diseases to bring death to the human body. One deadly disease can bring death. It does not take the breakage of many bones to cripple the hand. One broken bone can cripple. The Bible teaches, "One sinner destroys much good". (Ecclesiastes 9:18) – Robert G. Lee, SERMONIC LIBRARY, p. 46.
3. One inconsistency can destroy a work of God.
4. Galatians 5:9 “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”
C. It cause unbelievers to reject Christ due to our inconsistencies
1. Romans 2:18-24 “... know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you"