We’re all catholic. I’ll explain.
SEPTEMBER 21, 2020
We’re all Catholic and I’ll explain on Key Life.
Being adopted into the family of God is not about doing more or trying harder. It’s about being welcomed by God because of his radical grace, free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering. That grace is what Key Life is all about.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great weekend. I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you have your Bible, we’re in the middle of a fairly long study in the book of Galatians, a wonderful book of good news. And, we’re talking about in the second chapter of Galatians, where Paul is beginning to define exactly what the gospel is and he’s very specific. And we’ll get to that. But first, let’s pray. Father, we are so thankful for your word that you wrote it down. Cause we would have gotten it wrong, if you had not taken the time to give us the written word. We’re thankful for the living word. For the cross, for salvation, for justification, for imputation, for the fact that you’ll never kick us out, for the way you love us without condition. But you told us about it in the written word. And we thank you also for that. As we study it, apply it to our minds, so we won’t be shallow and superficial Christians. And then put it in our hearts, so we won’t be cold Christians, and put it on our vocal gourds and in our feet and in our hands. So the world might hear the laughter of the redeemed. Father, you know, everybody by name, who is listening right now, and you know the good and the bad, the tears and the laughter, you know it all. You are sufficient for every need. And we thank you for that. Remind us and draw us to yourself. And then father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches forgive him his sins, because they are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. All right. I’m going to take the time to read this text to you and I’m going to start at the first verse of the second chapter of Galatians. Some of it’s kind of harsh, so put your seatbelt on, but it’s important. And we’re going to spend some time in these words, and then we’re going to go further in this text and see a more specific definition of the gospel. This is what Paul reads and it’s biographical.
After fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me, I went up by revelation and I laid before them (but privately before those who were of repute) the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, less somehow I should be running or had run in vain.
I do that too, in a sense. I have a very extensive library. And often when I’m working on a text, even like this one, I’ll get out commentaries and I’ll go and read what others have said about it. And you say, you don’t know, the Bible says, well yeah I do. I’ve been teaching the Bible longer than a lot of you have been alive. I know what it says. I get that. Then you ask, why do you go to the commentary? I go to the commentaries because I want to stay within the main stream of historic Orthodox Christianity. I don’t want to say dumb things that aren’t meant to be at the heart of the Christian faith. When I teach the Bible, I don’t want to be creative. I want to be faithful. And so that’s what Paul did. He said,
When I preached the Gentiles, less somehow I should be running or had run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. But because of false brothers secretly brought in–who slipped in to spy out our freedom, which we haven’t Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage–to them we did not yield submission even for a moment, that the truth of the gospel might be preserved in you. And from those who were reputed to be something (what the were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) — those, I say, who were of repute added nothing to me. But on the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for the mission to the circumcised worked through me also for the Gentiles) , and when they perceive the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only they would have us remember the poor, which very thing I was eager to do. But when Cephas, that would be Peter came to Antioch. I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And with him the rest of the Jews acted insincerely, so that even, and Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity. But when I saw that they were not straight forward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though, a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” We ourselves who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law shall no one be justified.
Alright. If you were listening yesterday, I took some time to put that text in context, because it’s important that you understand what was going on here. To summarize very quickly. The apostle Paul was saying this, he was saying that in order to be a Christian, you don’t have to first be circumcised and become a Jew and follow all of the rules that are part of off the docks Judaism. In other words, God is doing a new work and it’s a lot bigger than you think. And in that context, the definition of the gospel becomes more and more clear. I’m going to give you some general things about the gospel and it’s definition. And then once we finish with that fairly long list, we’re going to spend some time specifically defining what the gospel is, but first let’s look at some general terms first. You ought to note from this text that the gospel of Christ is Catholic. And you say, no it’s not, I’m not a Catholic, I’m a Baptist. Catholic is a word that means universal. Now in a lot of Protestant churches, to avoid misunderstanding, when we do the Apostles Creed, we don’t say Catholic, which is the word that’s used in the historic Apostle’s Creed. We substitute universal. We shouldn’t do that. We should just explain what it means to be a Catholic. Galatians 2:7,
When they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised.
And then note in the text when he refers to Titus, that Titus was not required to be circumcised because he was Greek. What was Paul demonstrating and saying about the gospel? It was saying that the gospel doesn’t speak one language, the gospel doesn’t sing the same songs. The gospel doesn’t come out with a sameness, no matter what. It’s different, in different people and all over the world. A number of years ago, three guys, me and a dear friend and named Jim Price and one of the best cross cultural communicators in the universe at that time, he’s now in heaven, Sam Rowan, the three of us traveled around the world. A lady told me, and I’m going to tell you the rest of the story tomorrow. But a lady told me, she said, Steve, you say the right words about missions, but you don’t have the passion that you ought to have. And I’m going to get the money together to send you and a couple of friends around the world because when you’re there and you see it, you’re going to be on fire for world missions. And that in fact is what happened. As I said, I’m going to tell you the rest of that story tomorrow, but for now, remember this, the gospel is universal. You’re a Catholic. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Of course, that was Steve Brown, teaching us from the second chapter. of Galatians. Well teaching it and setting the table for what he’s going to get into starting tomorrow. So much good stuff to cover. Please be sure to join us. Well last week I mentioned a fun fact about coffee. Here’s another one for butterflies to struggle to get out of the cocoon is what gives them the strength they need to fly, as Traylor Lovvorn points out in the current edition of Key Life Magazine. It’s kind of like that for us too. When we avoid the struggles that God allows into our lives, we may be missing out on more than we realize. You can read that article and more, in the 2020 edition of Key Life Magazine. Get your free copy right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylife.org to ask for the magazine. If you would like to mail your request, send it to
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