Summary: Sermon 5 in the Galatians series.
Confrontation never a comfortable situation, especially public
Personal story – illustration Brad (someone had to fire due to attitude) He left me no choice, there was a big public confrontation>
Conflict in Antioch
Gal 2: 11-14 (NIV) 11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
I. Peter ate with the Gentiles
V12 – Peter ate with the Gentiles before the visit from James’ people
Cornelius – Acts 10-11
Cornelius was told by an angel to send for Peter in Joppa
While Cornelius’ servants were on their way, Peter was on the roof and had a vision
Acts 10: 11-16 (NIV) 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." 14 "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." 15 The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
The the men from Cornelius showed up, Peter went with them,
When he got to the house of Cornelius in Cesarea, Cornelius told him about his vision of an angel telling him to send for Peter.
Acts 10 34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right
Then Peter witnessed to Cornelius and his household – he shared the gospel with them.
Cornelius had invited his relatives and close friends.
Acts 10 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
They were all baptized right away
From the story of Cornelius we know that Peter has deep convictions on the subject of Gentile believers being equal to Jewish believers.
He was told by God in a vision to accept them. Peter believed God. Peter trusted God
So it is no surprise to find Peter eating with the Gentile believers in Antioch
The practice of eating with the Gentiles would also have included the Lord’s Supper
It would have been a very encouraging and affirming thing for the Gentile believers in Antioch – to have Peter, perhaps the most well known of the apostles, eating with them and sharing the Lords Supper
It was living out what God had shown Peter in his vision,
It was living out what had been agreed upon at the Jerusalem conference. Jewish and Gentile followers of Christ on completely equal footing.
II. Peter withdrew from the Gentiles
V12b – When they arrived he drew back – who were they?
Paul does not tell us, but it really doesn’t matter
What does matter is what they told Peter
he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
Who are those who belonged to the circumcision group?
If you just read it through it sounds like he may be talking about the men from James.
But why would Peter be afraid of them? They are from the church in Jerusalem, Peter is a pillar in that church, and he would have no reason to fear them.
One of the keys to this passage is the phrase used for the group of people Peter fears.
In verse 12 NIV translates it as those who belonged to the circumcision group
But the same word in the original Greek (peritome’)is used 2 other times in this chapter of Galatians, in verse 7 and verse 9. The word by itself means circumcision. It can also refer to those who are circumcised – the Jews.
The use of the word is determined by its context. In both verse 7 and in verse 9 it refers to non-Christian Jews.