United by Grace – April 28, 2018
Introduction: Following Jesus -> Paul’s Journey -> Peter in Antioch
Big Idea: Jesus set us free so we can live for Him.
Scripture: Galatians 2:11-21 (NLT)
Galatians 2:11-14 (NLT)
But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?
Point One: Grace & Accountability
- When Peter first visited Antioch, he regularly ate with the Gentiles (but he separated himself when some Jewish Christians came up from Jerusalem)
- Paul confronts Peter because his hypocrisy was leading others astray (our actions can sow seeds of unity or of division)
- Grace means tearing down walls in order to build unity while accountability means helping each other remember we are to live like Jesus
- Be careful not to hold others to standards that you are not willing to maintain yourself
Galatians 2:15-16 (NLT)
“You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”
Point Two: Justified by Faith
- Paul reminds Peter (and his readers) that we are justified by faith not works
- This means that we do not / cannot earn our own salvation (faith in Jesus makes us right before God)
- Jesus takes the burden of our salvation so that we can be set free from the things that bind us (such as the Law)
- Grace gives us freedom while accountability keeps us from returning to slavery
Galatians 2:17-21 (NLT)
But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
Point Three: Christ Lives in Me
- Paul points out that if we are justified by works, then Jesus’ death would have been for nothing
- God loves us enough to send His Son to die on the cross so that we can be set free from the Law (slaves to sin -> children of God)
- We are enslaved when we depend on our own strength and understanding to save ourselves from the struggles of life
- By allowing Jesus to live within us, our faith will carry us through whatever hardships we will face in life