Summary: It is always wise to seek wise counsel when stepping out into ministry.
Pathway To Ministry
Text: Gal. 2:1-10
1. Illustration: A well-known Christian businessman who was visiting a church was asked to give his testimony. He said, "I have a fine family, a large house, a successful business, and a good reputation. I have plenty of money so I can support some Christian ministries very generously. Many organizations want me on their board of directors. I have good health and almost unlimited opportunities. What more could I ask from God?" As he paused for effect, a voice shouted from the back of the auditorium, "How about asking Him for a good dose of humility?"
2. It is one thing for you to think you have it, but it is another thing to have someone confirm it in you.
3. If God is calling you to a particular ministry here are three ways to test whether its from God.
a. Seek Consultation
b. Seek Confirmation
c. Seek Commission
4. Let's stand as we read together Gal. 2:1-10
Proposition: It is always wise to seek wise counsel when stepping out into ministry.
Transition: The first thing you should do is...
I. Seek Consultation (1-5).
A. In Agreement
1. When you feel that God is leading you into a new ministry it is a good idea to seek wise counsel.
2. We can see this in Paul's life and ministry. He tels the Galatians, "Then fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas; and Titus came along, too."
a. The word "then" indicates that Paul is relating a chronological series of events and was leaving out nothing of importance.
b. Furthermore, the word "again" shows that Paul is describing his second visit to Jerusalem (Fung, NICNT: Galatians, 85).
c. Some assume that this is a reference to the Council of Jerusalem from Acts 15. However, Martin Luther, indicates that what Paul is talking about here happened much later (Luther, Reformation Commentary On Scripture, vol. 10, 47).
d. Fourteen years after his conversion Paul made a second trip to the holy city; he took two of his friends with him: Barnabas and Titus.
e. Barnabas, originally named Joseph, was a Levite who grew up in Cyprus. As a result of his ministries the apostles named him "Son of Encouragement," i.e., Barnabas.
f. We later learn that he was the "cousin" of John Mark. His obedience, reconciling manner, and encouraging temperament, along with his dependence on the Holy Spirit, earned him a prominent ministry alongside Paul.
g. The second travel companion of Paul was Titus. While we may be unsure why Titus accompanied Paul and Barnabas, his distinctive trait (and the reason he is mentioned at all) is that he was a Gentile.
h. It is possible that Paul brought Titus, likely one of his early converts and a continual friend, as a "test case," in which case Titus would have had unmistakable and unimpeachable Christian character while at the same time being a Gentile (Scot McKnight, The NIV Application Commentary – Galatians, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 82).
3. Now that we have set up the background, let's look at what Paul is trying to say. He says in v. 2, "I went there because God revealed to me that I should go. While I was there I met privately with those considered to be leaders of the church and shared with them the message I had been preaching to the Gentiles. I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing."
a. Paul would not have gone to Jerusalem if the Lord had not told him to do so since he was not concerned with the soundness of his teaching (Luther, 48).
b. However, he still wanted to be in agreement with the leaders in the church. If Paul felt the need for agreement, then it makes sense that we should be in agreement.
c. When Paul reached Jerusalem, he simply submitted (from anatithēmi, to lay something before someone for consideration) to them the gospel which he had always preached among the Gentiles, the gospel of salvation by God's sovereign grace through man's penitent faith—a gospel utterly contrary to the works-righteous belief of the Judaizers that "unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."
(John MacArthur, MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Galatians, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 35).
d. His gospel did not demand adopting the Jewish way of life and did not include submission to the law. Paul even states that he did this humbly: "for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain."
e. This was a grand concession on Paul's part. However confident he was in the revelation that he thought was from Jesus Christ, he was still willing to submit his revelation to the evaluation of the leaders of Jerusalem (McKnight, 83).