Summary: In this sermon, we see that Paul believed that the truth of the Gospel and the care of the poor were worth fighting for.
A. The story is told of a young boy who arrived home from school with two black eyes.
1. His mother said to him, “Have you been fighting again? Didn’t I tell you that when you were angry you should count to 100 before you did anything?”
2. The young boy replied, “I know mommy, and that’s what I did, but the other boy’s mother had him to count to only 50.”
B. All of us have found ourselves in skirmishes.
1. Whether the fight comes to blows or not the battles can be intense.
2. Sadly, many of the battles we find ourselves in are not worth fighting for.
3. Many of our fights are over the silliest or most minor of things.
4. Sometimes when we are at odds with someone, we can’t even remember how it first started.
C. I’m going to date myself with this illustration, but how many of you remember an old ad campaign who’s slogan was “I would rather fight than switch?”
1. Tareyton cigarettes used that ad campaign from 1963 to 1981.
2. Each commercial would begin in a predictable manner; the protagonist would do something that would be considered defiant.
a. In one commercial, an old woman rocked sternly in her chair on her porch, while the rest of her development was being razed to make room for a condominium.
3. In each commercial, the protagonist would say “Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch!”, usually only showing their side profile to the camera.
a. Then, after uttering the slogan, person would turn and face the camera and viewers would see the person's whole face, which had a noticeable "black eye" (which was in reality just makeup).
b. The black eye proved their willingness to fight for what they believed in, whether it be their tough decision of the day, or their choice to smoke Tareyton cigarettes.
4. In the commercial I mentioned earlier, the old woman's fighting spirit won out, and her house remained where it was, although the condominium was built alarmingly close to her property.
D. In our text for today, we see Paul standing firm and fighting for something truly worth fighting for.
1. Today, we are continuing our sermon series on the book of Galatians that we are calling “Set Free.”
2. What is it that Paul is fighting for? He is fighting for the Gospel.
3. Paul would gladly give ground on lesser matters, but on the Gospel itself, he would rather fight than switch!
4. Maintaining the purity and truthfulness of the Gospel is a battle worth fighting.
E. Here is the background for today’s study:
1. Paul had established churches in the Gentile region of Galatia which is modern-day Turkey.
2. 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.
3. The false teachers confused these new Gentile Christians by attacking Paul’s apostleship and his teaching.
4. 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.
5. 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.
F. 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.
G. Today, as we turn to chapter two, we will see how Paul demonstrates that even though his Gospel didn’t come from the Jerusalem apostles, his Gospel was endorsed by the Jerusalem pillars.
1. In this way, we will see how Paul uses both sides of the argument to support his Gospel and ministry.
2. On the one side, he has argued that his Gospel was independent of the Jerusalem apostles.
3. But now on the other side, he wants to demonstrate that his Gospel is endorsed by the Jerusalem pillars.
4. That endorsement certainly is not necessary, since God had directly endorsed Paul, but the endorsement of the Jerusalem apostles takes the wind out of the sails of the Judaizers.
5. Let’s spend a few minutes working through the text to gain understanding, and then we will spend a few minutes in application.
I. The Exposition
A. Look at Gal. 2:1-2: Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.