The Posture of Standing for the Truth

The Posture of Standing for the Truth

Amen. It was some great singing, indeed. Growing up I loved to watch a good spy movie. Who am I kidding? I like to watch a good one now. You know those movies where an agent from the U.S. government or British government had a special job to do and usually involved infiltrating some foreign government or evil empire. And it was really a special kind of individual, right, an elite person who had all kinds of special tools.

And gadgets and they were on this glorious mission to save all of humanity. You guys have seen these movies, right? That is definitely not how spycraft works. In fact, we even saw a bit of a peek of how it actually works this past Christmas season when a man who had been living for 40 years as a spy in the United States was caught.

He was actually even at one point an ambassador for the United States to another country. And he was caught spying for your old arch nemesis, Cuba. The article from Reuters goes on to describe the man, Victor Manuel Rocha this way Rocha worked for the State Department between 1981 and 2002. Some of you folks were even alive during that period of time

as I look out over the audience. The Justice Department said that he served in the White House’s National Security Council. We’re talking the upper echelons of power in the United States. From 1994 to 1995, he worked as an advisor to the commander of the U.S. military in Southern Command from 26 to 2012. Like I mentioned, he was even an ambassador, 40 years a spy for Cuba, and eventually he was caught.

It was a giant black eye for the United States. Right. We have all of this technology. We do all this counter spying. And for 40 years, one man made it to the top of U.S. intelligence and reported everything back to Cuba. Now, there’s only one thing that you can do when you find out that you have a spy and you have to get rid of him, you have to solve the problem.

One of my mentors in ministry would say problems are like guppies, you can deal with the one problem that you have today or the thousand that you’re going to have tomorrow. So no doubt when have a spy, you need to deal with the problem. And I’m sure in this man’s individual, he’ll face the courts of justice and the United States.

And there’s probably going to be a whole lot more going on. But what was is the leader of the United States recognized having a spy was a really big problem ultimately because of what that spy was trying to achieve. And we’re going to see that same dynamic played out here today as we continue in our series of faithfully following the true Gospel.

It’s not going to be talking about spying between two different nation states like the United States and Cuba, but it’s between light and darkness, between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan. Now, in order for us to understand that, we’ve got to make sure that that we really have a good understanding of the context that our passage is being written this morning.

Whenever you’re going to study the Bible, one of the most important things that you can do, one of the rules that you should follow is to make sure that you understand the context in which that particular passage or book was written. What we often see in the letters were written or the gospels that were handed down to us that that usually the author will include something very direct and straightforward, their purpose.

So, for example, John, at the end of his gospel, tells us what the purpose of him writing the Gospel was. Jesus had done many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which aren’t written in these books and this book, but these Why did John write down these things so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you might have life in His name?

So. So John writes his gospel with a purpose so that you would believe he is the Christ in it by believing you would have life in His name. Or for example, we have Luke’s gospel. He gives it to us a lot earlier. The first chapter. Why did he write this book? It seemed good to also, having followed all things closely for some time, passed to write an orderly account for you most excellent Theophilus.

So he writes his gospel with a particular focus goal in mind of serving this man the fullness. So as we’ve been making our way through our series, we haven’t yet addressed what was the occasion of the purpose that Paul is writing to the Galatians or at least we’ve just kind of been hinting at it a little bit here and there, and we’re going to come even closer today about the purpose.

Now, that isn’t to say that as you’re studying the Bible, that if you don’t have every piece of background information, that that you can’t get something out of your text. Don’t hear me say that. But what I’m saying is it’s important for us to understand the immediate context of what was happening. When Paul wrote this so that we can understand and apply this passage today.

And what was going on in the early church was that schism was and taking shape. And the issue that’s being presented here that pushes to a larger picture. But the issue today is that all the males in the new church who were not Jewish, all of the males they were being told needed to be circumcised. I actually see this event a little bit in the Book of Acts chapter 15, but some men came down from Judea and were teaching to the brothers.

What were they teaching that unless you are circumcised, according to the customer, Moses, you cannot be saved. They came down to teach and after Paul and Barnabas had no small discussion, that means they had quite a lively debate. That’s Bible parlance, for it was lively in the House that day, had no small dissension and debate with them. Paul and Barnabas and some others were appointed to go to Jerusalem to, the Apostles and the elders about this question.

Now, if you remember last week when we talked about this, that the message of salvation going out to the Gentiles, it’s truly amazing because most of us in this room fall into the category of Gentile. It was a big deal. Jews had always understood that the message of salvation was for them. They knew in part that this message would be imparted to the Gentiles, but they understand it.

But when God begins to reveal the mystery of Jesus Christ, well, let’s just put it this way. Everybody is a little bit astonished. In fact, earlier in the Book of Acts, we read this little narrative that while Peter was speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message, the circumcised believers who had come with Peter, they were astonished that the gift of the spirit had been poured out, even on the Gentiles, for they had heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water, so they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have. So we ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and they asked Peter to stay with them for a few more days. However, there was this undercurrent that was existing and you can even detect it a little bit there in chapter ten.

Would the Gentiles need to adopt the law of Moses in order to be saved? This is a big deal because they were the Jewish believers with Peter. They were astonished that the Holy Spirit had descended on the Gentiles. The issue of what constituted it was a really big deal in the early beginnings of the church. It’s a really big deal today as well.

The way that it’s often presented in the New Testament, it coalesces around the issue of circumcision and the obedience to the mosaic law. This issue of having to deal with what led to an individual being saved and not having to deal with obedience to the law, it comes over and over again. For example, I put on the screen there in Romans and Philippians and First Corinthians and Colossians over and over Paul had to address the issue of salvation and that it had nothing to do with works.

But I do think theologian Timothy George puts it in a way that I think probably represents most of our view when we when we look at these battles, if You were to go look at the battles that were being fought and just to think about it today, he writes this It appears to us more like a tempest, a teapot of late antiquity, an obscure issue no longer relevant to our concerns today.

It would seem ridiculous, and I believe that you’re probably on page here. It would seem ridiculous for anyone to insist that all non-Jewish males be circumcised before they could become Christians and united in the church. That was the argument that was being presented there. But the bigger argument for us today is what constitutes the gospel and what we’re going to see morning is that there is a posture for standing for the truth, and it’s a posture that we as a congregation must adopt.

Follow along with me as I read in Galatians chapter two, beginning in verse one, all the way through verse ten, this is the word of the Lord. Then after 14 years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas taking Titus along with me. I went up because of the 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 that I wasn’t running or had not run in vain. But even Titus who was with me was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Jew or Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus.

So they might bring us into slavery to them. We did not yield in submission even for one moment so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seem to be influential, what they were makes no difference to me. God shows no partiality. Those I say who seem to be influential, they added nothing to me.

On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted to the to the circumcised, for he worked through Peter for his Apostolic ministry, to the circumcised work also through me for mine to the Gentiles. When James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me.

They gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only they asked us to be remember us, to remember the poor. The very thing I was eager to do. This morning we’re talking about the posture for standing for the truth. And the first posture that we need to take is the gaze of standing for the truth.

We must be vigilant against false teaching. Do you agree with me? Have you sensed that sometimes there is a willingness to give in to false teaching about all kinds of things in order to arrive at some sort of position, a place of unity? If you look around our world, there is a message that’s being said all of the world’s religions, they’re the same thing.

You might even have heard the argument from time to time Judaism, Christianity, Islam, they’re all Abrahamic religions and they’re basically the same thing. The reality is they are sufficiently the same thing, but deep. They could not be any more apart. What’s the goal of these persons? What are they trying to say by uniting that, by trimming off the areas that make us distinct that that then we will arrive at a place of unity, beloved as we’re going to see from our text.

False teachings can never unite the church. False teachings can never solve the problems of the world. False teachings will destroy and divide. That was what was happening in the early church. But what we see in the midst of this false teaching cropped up that that when there was a concern, a private meeting happened first, remember, from Acts 15.

So some agitators had come to Antioch. And so the church saw we’ve got to get this issue figured out. There was a lively debate in the church house. And so Paul writes in the history of these events, what happened next? Then after 14 years, I went up to Jerusalem. He goes with Barnabas taking Titus with me as well.

And I went up because of the revelation and set before them. Locking on here though privately, before those who seemed influential, what did he set before them? The gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles in order to make sure I wasn’t running or had not run in vain. If you remember from our previous weeks, Paul had received his ministry and revelation of Christ directly from the risen Savior.

But then, as our text notes, some, the guys came from Jerusalem. They came down and caused these problems. Paul wanted to the early church wanted to keep this the circle of knowledge pretty small. We see that in places like Matthew 18, when a brother goes astray. But there was another important principle that Paul is demonstrating for us. Paul isn’t going alone, even though he’s an apostle and controversial issues arise.

There’s a team, there’s a group of men going that there’s a lot of wisdom that the church can see here. We want to keep problem solving small, but on the other hand, they’re not doing it alone. And instead of these men seeking a false unity that comes through compromising the truth, Paul and his team choose to remain steadfast in the midst of pressure.

I think we actually see this all over our country right now. Those who are progressive and reject historic and orthodox Christianity, they’re not content to live at peace amongst themselves. Now. They want everybody to get on board with their false message. And in Paul’s case, there was a strong push that all new converts who were male needed to be circumcised and those who were converted needed to return the mosaic obedience of the law that as will see this this return to the law is that the heart of the book of Galatians, In the midst of standing for the truth, Paul recounts that even Titus, who was with me, he was not forced to

be circumcised, though he was a Greek. So why is why is Paul saying this? He’s saying that he brought a young man named Titus and he brought that man on purpose. The false teachers, they were trying to force new converts like Titus, who come to Christianity to be circumcised. And so Paul brings to headquarters to Jerusalem to make that very point.

And as he’s recounting this story to the Galatians, he’s showing the superiority of the true gospel, highlighting that even when Titus had come, they had not forced him to be circumcised. There definitely been a push. Paul’s highlighting that in his defense, those men who made that push, they lost the battle greatly. And if there was ever going to be a time where they were going to win, Paul brought Titus right to them and he showed that Titus was a spirit filled man and yet was not following the mosaic traditions.

So Paul was able to remain steadfast and not allow Titus to be circumcised because he understood, just as we need to understand that false teaching brings slavery, not freedom. False teaching brings slavery not freedom yet because of the false brothers secretly brought in who slipped in to spy on our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. Why?

Why they do all of this? Because they wanted to bring the early church back into slavery. Don’t doubt Paul’s going after these people, calling them secretly spying, slipping and false brothers. In fact, the word false brother appears nowhere else in the Bible except for second Corinthians 11:26. It’s a powerful language for sure, but what Paul’s trying to highlight is this is no accidental deviation from orthodoxy.

This is intentional and purposed. Can we agree for a moment These are some powerful words from Paul. So let me pause right there and say that this is part of the reason that you’re going to hear from me over and over again. Two of our church’s emphases that I’m trying to lead through the value of using the church government that we have here, brewery and the value of keeping our membership rules tight.

One of the most important ways that we can protect our church today from being one of those churches that goes the way of false teaching is to take being a congregation seriously. You do elect your pastors and deacons to lead, and we do a lot on your behalf with the authority that you place in us, in authority that the Bible tells you to place in us.

But there are certain matters that only the congregation can take up as a whole. I’m not talking about figuring out why is the copier budget $0.30 over? That’s not the biggest issue that the congregation needs to worry about. That’s why I’m thankful that so many of you actually came out to the business meeting last week. We had some serious issues to deal with as a church body and they needed to be handled by the church body.

We’re called to protect the gospel the same way that Paul did in a number of ways. And one of the ways that we make sure that that we don’t slip into false teaching and the slavery that that brings is to be a church to be a congregation. The way that the scriptures lay out the words that Paul uses here, I honestly I think if the Apostle Paul written them, I think we all be a little bit embarrassed to use that kind of terminology today.

John MacArthur mentions it this way. The Judaizers were marked as false brethren, a phrase that’s been translated as well sham Christians or pseudo Christians. Those professing Jewish believers had developed a hybrid faith that was neither true to traditional Judaism because it claimed allegiance to Christ, nor was it apostolic Christianity because it demanded circumcision and obedience to the Mosaic Law for salvation.

I think this is key for us today. As a church, they had developed in many ways their own religion. It wasn’t fully Jewish and it wasn’t fully Christian. And we know that this was from Satan because the results of this false religion, it was going to be spiritual slavery. So. So what does Paul mean by slavery and spying on our freedom?

He’ll actually address this later in chapter five. But for those of you are in Christ, Paul would say that it is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Therefore, stand firm and notice the passive language here for a moment. Do not let yourself be burdened again by the yoke of slavery, but free from what? Free not to sin.

So before you were in Christ, you were enslaved to sin. But when a person is born again, they are, according to the Bible, freed from sin. Before that moment they were slaves to sin. And Satan wants to do all that he can to keep people in slavery or bring them back. The result of that, slavery is a life of men of misery in Christ came so that those are His would be free from sin, free from corruption, free from the yoke of bondage before Christ, we were helpless.

We were bound in slavery. There was nothing that we could do but Christ. Talking of his purpose, says this way In John 10 the thief came only to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and it to the full The way a person receives life, they are freed from the enslaving power of sin is by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

And that alone. The problem with the Judaism is they wanted to mix the gospel with works there can be no mixing of the gospel for freedom to occur. Now the world will tell you, Christian or non-Christian, it doesn’t matter. You are free to do whatever you want and in doing whatever you want, there is where joy is found.

You can live however you want. Freedom is doing that. You could sleep with whatever person you want to sleep with. You can do whatever drugs you want to do. You can believe whatever you want to believe, as long as it doesn’t offend anyone. That is where true freedom lives, the world will tell you. But that message of freedom according to the Scriptures is truly slavery.

True freedom comes when you’re freed by the power of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. True freedom is when you surrender life to him. It would be my hope and my prayer that anybody here in this room that isn’t free in that way, that that you would come to embrace the only one who can set you free by trusting in his death on the cross and to the believers here, if you are free, I would encourage you to remember that the year to be living in your freedom, not to be yielding yourself up to sin.

No one, no human, no Satan, no one can force you to sin. You have to yield and to submit to it. And so I would ask for anybody here this morning, Have you been yielding to those things, yielding to pornography, yielding to drugs, yielding to the fear of man, yielding to anxiety, yielding to depression, whatever seeks capture your soul?

Are you living free the way Christ intended you to be? He took the steps to secure your freedom. Well, Paul is bringing our minds and attention to today is no amount of false teaching will bring you freedom. No amount of mixing of the gospel with lies will bring us freedom. You were free in the Gospel and. The way that you remain free is to cling to that gospel.

So the next thing that we see from Paul is posture of standing for truth. No compromise. Paul says there can be no compromise. So because some back then, as some might even argue today, is it really worth the fight? Is this really worth arguing and dividing? Can you even hear that language from time to time? Pursue unity at any cost, but a little

leaven leavens the whole lump. And James Montgomery Boice writing a number of years ago said it this way. That I think captures the essence of what we’re discussing. Well, he says, so it is to Paul’s steadfastness in conflict. There was conflict, and he was steadfast that Christians, humanly speaking, the continuation of the full gospel of grace in subsequent church history.

The issue is important today because many would claim that the doctrine is not of great importance, that compromise should always be sought, and that the value of human works alongside the reality of grace should be recognized. Do you agree with me that it can be easy to take for granted the fights that were fought before us? I know that I can do that.

Our Text calls for us to stand for the truth. And what that means is on certain important issues, there can be no compromise. The battles around the central city of the Gospel. In one way, they have changed over the years, right? We see that playing out in our text. No one is arguing that all male converts need to be circumcised.

But that doesn’t mean that the fight for the sufficiency of Scripture and the purity of the gospel is done. But one of the main that one of the main litmus test that I think you’re seeing that play out today in our society is the battle around human sexuality. Over and over there, there is a call. Does the Bible really say that?

Does the Bible really mean that? What Bible says isn’t important on these things? And what we find over and over and people who say these things is ultimately those individuals, they’re watering down their mixing, they’re abandoning the gospel. And so one of the arguments that is used to destroy the gospel is a little compromise will not hurt us just a little bit, won’t be that bad.

Can I encourage you, as you seek to grow in faithfulness this year, that you would seek to grow in the knowledge of the principles of the Gospel, that you’d grow in such a way that if you’re called to make a stand, that you’re ready to do that and that you will be not compromised, you might consider areas that you need to sharpen up.

I’d use the church library. They’ve got so many good books in there, and if they don’t have the book that you need, I am sure those folks will buy the book that you need if you just tell them. Because as a church, our posture must be when it comes to the core issues of gospel, no compromise, because we recognize that the smallest compromise, even the smallest one, it must be avoided.

Now, before we go any further, I suppose that we should delineate some categories for a moment, do a little of theological triage, and try to organize the various principles in the Bible. One of the most important things that we can do is to consider our own beliefs and try to organize them and where do they fit in.

And what we’ve been discussing here this morning is one orthodox issues. What makes a person a Christian? Historically, it’s around categories of solar feeder. It’s by faith alone, Sola scriptura by the scriptures alone. But even as I just mentioned, one of the quickest litmus tests that we have today to determine is this church, is this individual holding to historic Orthodox Christianity is going to around human sexuality.

But there’s other issues in the Bible that don’t rise to this level. This is the level that’s Paul is talking about. This is the level that we’re talking about. But there’s other levels. There’s things like key doctrinal issues. But what separates denominations and larger groups of Christians, for example, Presbyterians or paedobaptists, those who baptize babies, that’s not category that we’re talking about.

That’s not the category that Paul’s talking about. I do believe and this might be a shocker for a moment, we’re going to see Presbyterians in heaven. There’s also the unique confessional issues. But what makes individual churches distinct? Things like eschatology, things like polity? How do we organize the structure of the governance? These are really important issues, issues that even our church was founded on, being a pre-millennial, dispensational church.

But again, not the issues that Paul is talking about. Not central to the gospel. You will see a-millennialists in heaven. Lastly, issues of Christian liberty exist as well. Issues that aren’t clear in the Bible. But persons will have various and preferences on. Again, that’s not what Paul is talking about here when it comes to the matter of compromise.

It’s that top tier. What makes a person a Christian, because when it comes to tier one issues, Paul understood. And we need to understand what is at stake for the future. Paul writes earlier in Galatians 2:5, right, that there could be no compromise. Why? So that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for Paul by the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit?

He saw that this was about far more than the removal of skin. The future issue of the Gospel was at stake for generations to come. He writes this and does this in part to see that having the true unadulterated gospel is the benefit for the Galatians, the benefit for the entire church. He know, he knew and saw that preserving the gospel by grace, alone, Christ alone, according the Scriptures, alone, was important, and he saw what was at stake for the future.

So let me pause here for a moment to say thank you to those who’ve stood before. We here today stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before. Saw was at stake for the future and saw that there could be no mixing, no changing of the gospel. So if you see younger Christians are mature Christian, maybe one of the responses that you could have is, is to say thank you for all that you did to preserve the gospel.

Well, older generations, I think one of the things that you could do is to commend and encourage our young families who are bringing their children here, because they see what is at stake, the preservation of the gospel. You might even encourage a children’s worker and thank them for their dedication because they see what is at stake. There can be no compromise.

Partially even why I’m excited about this building project. I think our community needs more standing for the gospel. They need more people seeing what’s at stake for the future, not less. Our facilities are part of the way that we reach people. They’re not required, but it is a tool for reaching because Paul saw and we see what is at stake for the future.

Well, then, what was the outcome of all of this? Paul takes a stand. He sees what is at stake. He does not compromise. What is the result of all of this? What is the outcome? It’s actually unity. Unity. Paul took a stand and what had happened is stood vindicated. He mentions this in verse six as he stood for the Gospel.

And from those who seem to be influential, what they were makes no difference to me. God shows no partiality to those I say, who seemed influential. They added nothing to me. Paul had gone to Jerusalem. He conferred with the other apostles. And what was clear is that they added nothing to his ministry. It wasn’t a slam on the apostles and elders at Jerusalem.

It’s part of the larger point that he’s making to the Galatians about the nature of salvation and the nature of the gospel that he preached to them. He had gone there and he stood vindicated. For those of you are having to take a stand in whatever way it might be at work, might be with family. I do believe that one day you will stand vindicated.

The Scriptures promise as much anyone who believes they will never be put to shame. But that doesn’t mean the road will be easy. That doesn’t mean that this side of heaven that you won’t experience incredible persecution. But one day, as you your stand for the Gospel, one day you will live there or you will not be put to shame.

So the unity was ultimately what happened. The church was united. There was a schism. There were these false brothers. And the result of his stand for the truth was it became united. Paul writes it this way in versus seven through nine. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted the Gospel to the uncircumcised Peter been entrusted to the gospel, to the circumcised.

But you worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry, to the circumcised, worked also through me for mine, to the Gentiles. When James surfaced in John, who seemed to be pillars, when they perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and to me that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

There had been a problem in the church, but when the leaders stood boldly for the Gospel instead of breaking up the church, it actually brought the church tighter together so that ultimately the mission of the church, it could continue until Paul means in verse ten here, when he describes only they asked us to remember the poor. The very thing I was eager to do, Paul, was ready to live out his changed identity, to continue to accomplish the mission of the church.

Berean Baptist. Let us see. As Paul took his bold stand for the Gospel that this day that we would do the same. Let us learn from his posture as we seek to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to a dying world. Let’s pray, Father. We come before you and we offer you thanks. And we see that in the life of the early church, there was a battle for the supremacy of salvation through your son, through grace, alone, faith, alone in Christ alone.

That Paul and others took a brave and bold stand. Father, I pray that we would be a church that takes a similar stand, that we would stand for the Gospel even when it’s hard and even when it’s difficult we would not add to or take away from your message. And we would see ultimately that, like Paul stood vindicated.

Father, we will stand one day vindicated with you. We asked this in your son’s most precious and holy name, the name of Jesus human.

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