Summary: As we study Paul's confrontation of Peter in Galatians 2, we learn a number of lessons: the infallibility of leaders, the power of peer pressure, and the truth of the Gospel that we are saved by grace and not by works.
A. You are probably familiar with the traditional Russian parable about the hunter and the bear.
1. One day a hunter raised his rifle and took careful aim at a large bear.
1. When he was about to pull the trigger, the bear spoke in a soft, soothing voice, “Isn’t it better to talk than shoot? What do you want? Let us negotiate the matter.”
2. Lowering his rifle, the hunter replied, “I want a fur coat.”
3. “Good,” said the bear, “that is negotiable. I only want a full stomach. Let’s compromise.”
4. They sat down to talk, and after a time the bear walked away alone.
5. The negotiations had been successful - The bear had a full stomach, and the hunter had his fur coat.
B. Compromise is not always a good thing, is it?
1. While that seems to be the case when hunting bears, it’s definitely the case when it comes to the gospel.
2. Certainly God wants Christians to be peacemakers, but He does not want us to attain “peace” through the compromise of his Word.
3. This morning our passage from Galatians reminds us how God wants us to stand firm in the truth of the gospel - even though that truth may sound incredible, and even when standing firm creates conflict.
C. We are in a sermon series on the book of Galatians that we are calling “Set Free!”
1. We took a two week break from the series so that we could focus on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
2. Now let’s return to our study of Galatians.
3. So, as you will recall, Paul had established churches in the Gentile region of Galatia which is modern-day Turkey.
4. After he left the region, some “false brothers” who claimed to be from Jerusalem came to Galatia and began undermining all that Paul had taught and built.
5. The false teachers confused these new Gentile Christians by attacking Paul’s apostleship and his teaching.
6. The false teachers told the new Gentile Christians that in order to be saved they had to believe the Gospel and they also had to be circumcised and follow the Mosaic Law.
7. When Paul heard about the influence the false teachers were having on the Galatians, he immediately wrote this short, passionate letter to them that we know as Galatians.
D. In chapter one, we have seen how Paul defended his Gospel and his apostleship.
1. Paul did so by showing that his Gospel and apostleship came directly by revelation from God.
2. His Gospel was not dependent on human teaching or on the Judean apostolic leaders or churches.
3. By telling his conversion story, he demonstrated how his calling and training came directly from God.
4. Then in chapter two, we noticed how Paul demonstrated that even though his Gospel didn’t come from the Jerusalem apostles, his Gospel was still endorsed by the Jerusalem apostles.
5. In this way, Paul used both sides of the argument to support his Gospel and ministry.
a. On the one side, he had argued that his Gospel was independent of the Jerusalem apostles.
b. But then on the other side, he demonstrated that his Gospel was also endorsed by the Jerusalem apostles.
6. That endorsement, of course, was not necessary, since God had directly endorsed Paul, but the endorsement of the Jerusalem apostles took the “wind out of the sails” of the Judaizers.
E. Today, we are going to pick up our study of Galatians in chapter 2, verses 11-21.
1. Paul tells one more incident about his relationship with the Jerusalem apostles that sheds light on his independence from them and the truthfulness of the Gospel he preaches.
2. We will approach today’s lesson by working through a few “P”s. First we will address “The Problem,” and then we will address “The Procedure and Prescription.”
I. The Problem
A. Let’s read Galatians 2:11-14: But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step 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 force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
B. The incident that Paul tells about happened in Antioch, a bustling, cosmopolitan center located 300 miles north of Jerusalem.
1. It was the 3rd largest city in the Roman Empire and was an early Christian center.