Summary: These brethren from Jerusalem were strict legalists, which means they believed that the most important thing was to obey all the laws of God and to observe all the ceremonies and traditions of the Jewish church. And under grace, that’s their privilege.
Title: THE LIFE THAT REALLY MATTERS
Text: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20).
Bible Reading: Galatians 2:11-20
11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;
12 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.
13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
14 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?
15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!
18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Antioch was one of the cities that had a New Testament church.
They were mostly Gentiles, with a few Jews mixed in.
In order to really understand what happened there, you must know how this church operated.
They had a feast that was held in connection with the Lord’s Supper.
And that’s what caused their problem.
When the Gentiles were saved a problem was caused.
In the congregation, were Jews who had never eaten anything that had been sacrificed to idols.
The Gentiles, however, had been idolaters, and they were accustomed to eating meat, which had first been offered to idols, and in addition they ate pork and other animals that God had designated unclean in the Law of Moses.
It didn’t make any difference to them, because they had been raised that way.
So, the problem they had was this: What was going to be done to keep from offending the Jewish Christians.
Well, what they did was to have two tables set up.
One was the kosher table, and the other was the Gentile table.
Paul ate at the Gentile table.
Although he was a Jew, he ate with the Gentiles because he taught whether you eat meat or you didn’t eat meat it didn’t make any difference--meat will not commend you to God.
When Simon Peter came up to visit Paul in Antioch, it was a new experience for him because, although converted, he had never eaten anything unclean.
Remember, what Peter told the Lord on the roof in Joppa before he went to the home of Cornelius?
He had a vision of heaven opening and a sheet being lowered in which were all kinds of unclean animals.
In Acts 10 it says, “And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God has cleansed, that call not thou common.”
Peter had been a believer for some time when he came to visit Paul in Antioch, but he was still following the eating pattern of the Jews.
When Peter came to the church, he found both a Gentile table and a kosher table.
Now, I’m going to speculate about what happened.
When the time came to eat, Simon Peter went over to the kosher table, while Paul went over to the Gentile table.
After diner Peter joined Paul and they went outside for a little walk.
Peter said, “I noticed that you ate at the Gentile table.”
“Yes,” Paul said.
“I noticed that you ate Pork tonight. Is it good? I’ve never tasted it.”