Summary: Galatians 2:11-16, The pressure cooker of popular opinion

The Pressure cooker of popular opinion

Galatians 2:11-16

* Peer pressure can be very powerful at times.

* Most of us would not like to admit how many times we have buckled underneath it.

* We like to think of ourselves as independent thinkers, un-persuaded by what others think of us.

* Sometimes it’s people and/or their opinions of us that influence what we do and how we live.

* Peer pressure can be both positive and negative.

*Negative example -

Humor - Divorce vs. Murder

A nice, calm, respectable lady went into the pharmacy, walked up to the pharmacist, looked straight into his eyes, and said, "I would like to buy some cyanide."

The pharmacist asked, "Why in the world do you need cyanide?"

The lady replied, "I need it to poison my husband."

The pharmacist’s eyes got big and he exclaimed, "I can’t give you cyanide to kill your husband. That’s against the law! I will lose my license! They’ll throw both of us in jail! All kinds of bad things will happen. Absolutely not!

You CANNOT have any cyanide!"

The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband at a fancy restaurant, having dinner with none other than the pharmacist’s wife.

The pharmacist looked at the picture, surprised, and replied, "Well now, that’s different. You didn’t tell me you had a prescription."


* Occasionally, it’s the most unsuspecting people that are caught in the trap of giving in to peer pressure.

- Sometimes it’s leaders that end up getting led by the power of public opinion.

* If not for this passage of Scripture, you would have never guessed that the great Apostle Peter would have been persuaded by the multitude.

- After the day of Pentecost and his powerful preaching, how could Peter not be true to the message of the Gospel.

* Peter’s actions betrayed his words

* He was actually contradicting the gospel he so vigorously preached.

* By his example, he unintentionally led others away from the freedom of grace and into the bondage of works.

I. Paul’s reproof

* It’s unclear if Paul is the only one with the insight to see the seriousness of the error of Peter, or if he is the only one with the courage to stand up against Peter.

* It’s not always easy to confront those who are in error, but Paul has the courage to do so.

* Paul didn’t withstand him as an enemy

* Paul didn’t use rudeness or disrespect, but approached Peter as a friend and an apostle, with courtesy and yet with all seriousness.

A – Open v. 14

* Not for show or outward appearance only,

* Peter’s offence was public, so Paul publicly reproved him for it

* Peter’s offence was affecting the whole church…everyone in it.

* this wasn’t something that only affected 2 or 3 people in the church.

* It wasn’t limited in scope.

* Peter’s behavior was known by all in the church, so Paul confronts him before all

* Paul truly wanted to convince Peter of his mistake, and to put a stop to his conduct;

* While reproofs are not always to be publicly before the whole church, at least the individual has to be openly confronted.

* Rebuke is sometimes difficult but necessary

Pro 27:5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.

Pro 9:8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

B – Honest

* It was blunt and truthful.

* Paul didn’t pull any punches.

* Paul didn’t even care if the man he came face to face with was the leader and most influential person in the church – Peter himself!

* This was not an attack on Peter, it was a defense of the Gospel!

* Paul was not being mean-spirited about this, he was being completely honest.

-- Telling the truth to Peter and the church.

-- "Peter, you are wrong for this separation from the Gentiles… you are living a hypocritical life"

C – Addressed to offender v. 11

* Paul did not go to others and whisper his suspicions

* Paul did not go about as a talebearer, or whisperer, or backbiter

* Not behind Peter’s back

* Paul wasn’t seeking to undermine the influence and authority of Peter by slander; * Paul went to him at once, and he truthfully stated his views and reproved Peter for his wrong behavior.

* When someone is in the wrong, go to that person directly or keep quiet!

Mat 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. (16) But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (17) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.

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