Summary: I believe that this passage also shows us what God expects of His leaders.
WHAT GOD EXPECTS OF LEADERS
Today is Ordination Sunday in our church when we install new leaders and reaffirm our trust in those that lead our congregation. It is an important day. I wanted us to look at a passage this morning that would encourage, inform, and help us as we think about our leaders. I chose Galatians chapter 2. Galatians chapter 2 is an interesting passage in the Bible. Galatians 2 is written from the perspective of the Apostle Paul. The event that took place is also recorded for us in Acts 15 by Luke. So, we get two perspectives of this council in Jerusalem. I like this passage because it shows the leaders of the early church in action and interacting with one another. I believe that this passage also shows us what God expects of His leaders.
READ GALATIANS 2:1-21
I. GOD EXPECTS LEADERS TO REPEL FALSEHOOD FROM THE CHURCH (verses 1-5, 11-14)
The Apostle Paul dealt with one prevailing lie in the church constantly wherever he went. The idea was that Jesus came to offer salvation only to the Jews and not to the Gentiles. This message was taught over and over and it was completely false. Another related lie was that to become a Christian, one had to be circumcised in following the Law. Paul, in verse 2, states that he was going to Jerusalem to communicate what he teaches about Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to talk about circumcision. This was a touchy issue. Titus goes with Paul who is an active leader and preacher and he is not circumcised. Would the other Christians accept him as a brother in Christ?
Paul says in verse 4 that ‘false brothers’ were teaching incorrect things and it was causing problems. Paul tells the Galatians that he went so that the truth would be communicated and that the truth of the Gospel would be affirmed for these gentile Galatian Christians. Gentiles were often seen as different as shown in the example pointed out by Paul in verses 11-14. Peter ate with the Gentiles until other more judgmental Jews came and he drew back. Peter knew from God that Gentiles were equal as believers (Acts 10). Yet he acted in a way that looked down on the Gentile Christians.
This false belief needed to be dealt with. Gentile Christians are hearing on one hand that Jesus is the way the truth and the life, but on the other that they have to be circumcised to be acceptable to God. There are two contradictory messages going out and Paul sees the need for it to stop.
I believe that God expect the leaders of the church to repel falsehood from the church. Exodus 20:16 recording the Ten Commandments clearly states that falsehood is a sin and it is to be avoided. Jesus tells His disciples and others to "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Matthew 7:15). Falsehood in the church compromises the message of God and should be gotten rid of. Leaders should do this. 1 Timothy 1:3 shows us that Paul instructs Timothy, certainly a leader in the church, to command "certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer." It was and is the job of the leaders to lead the way in making sure the life of the church was true and pure. It was and is the job of the leaders to lead the way in making sure the message of the church is true and pure.
ILLUSTRATION... The Brothers Grimm (2005)
I rented a movie recently that spoke volumes when it came to dealing with falsehood. The movie is called Brothers Grimm and came out this past year. The fictional story centers around two brothers who are in the witch and ghost busting business. They ride into towns that have old folk tales of ghosts and goblins and offer to rid their town for a price. The price is of course way too high, until a villager comes and reports that the ghost or beast has returned. Sounds like a coincidence doesn’t it. The Brothers Grimm step in and save the day. The movie reveals that the Brothers Grimm also have two other partners that set up the false ghosts and witches and put on a production for some villagers to watch. The villagers see the evil foe vanquished and the brothers make their money. It is all a false production. It is a con-job. Early in the movie, these two Brothers are arrested by government leaders because of their treachery. It was all fake. They had to admit that their business was a false one. The truth was revealed.
I see in Galatians 2 that Paul, Barnabas, Titus, and the other Apostles gathering in Jerusalem to confront