Galatians 1:11-2:10

Thesis: Paul’s gospel was from God, not man (1:11-12)

Marks of an authentic gospel message.

  • Transforms lives (1:13-14)
  • Requires a personal encounter (1:15-16)
  • Fiercely guards freedom in Christ (2:3-5)
  • Identical to what original apostles preached (2:6, 9)
  • Leads to a desire to help the poor (2:10)
  • Brings people to Christ. (2:8)

Tell the story of Paul’s life – using a projected picture of the eastern Mediterranean and a timeline

Gal 1:11-12

  • Explain “the gospel”
  • Point out the thesis – Paul’s gospel was directly from God. Therefore no one should tamper with it!
  • He launches into the account of his conversion and the events that followed as a means of proving his point.
  • As we go along he’s going to give evidence that his gospel is supernatural and the only one approved by God.

Gal 1:13-14

Acts 9:1-22

So, what do we learn here?

  • First all, receiving the gospel requires a personal encounter (cf. Gal 1:15-16 – though don’t read this yet)
    • I always get worried when people say they’ve been Christians their whole lives
    • You may not remember a specific time but there will be an obvious difference between before and after (e.g. flying to Canada)
  • Second of all the true gospel changes peoples’ lives. Paul went from a hating, self-promoting murderer to a humble, repentant, testifying follower of Christ. (cf. Gal 1:13-14)
    • Q: Why do you think the true gospel always has this impact on people who are willing to accept it?

Gal 1:15-17

Acts 9:23-30

Gal 1:18-24

Acts 11:19-29

Gal 2:1-10

Let’s see a few more marks of authentic gospel

  • Fiercely guards freedom in Christ (2:3-5)
    • We’ll talk more about this as we study Galatians, so I won’t go into this much here.
    • Stott quote
  • The true gospel is identical to what the original apostles preached (2:6)
    • Q: How might this apply today? (Since these guys are all dead)
    • Means teaching what the Bible teaches and emphasizing what the Bible emphasizes.
  • It makes you want to help the poor (2:10)
    • Q: What about the gospel makes you want to help the poor?
    • Christians have been confused on this point in the past. They felt like it was one or the others. It’s both.
      • Ultimately the preaching of the gospel should take priority because that is going to be the best for helping the poor.
        • You can help the poor but not transform anyone’s life.
        • But if you truly receive the gospel you can’t help but want to help those who are less fortunate.
    • Note: The modern missions movement has been probably the biggest outpouring of generosity in the history of humanity.
  • It works! (2:8)
    • It doesn’t just change the lives of people who accept it. When you preach the gospel people will come to Christ.
    • Rom 10:17 – “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
    • There are lots of churches in America who just teach nice morals and be a good person. Those churches have been dying for years. The only ones truly growing are those preaching Scripture. This can be a good gauge of a church’s effectiveness.

Allen quote:

Upon the speaker, too, the effort to express his truth exercises a profound effect. The expression of his experience intensifies it; it renews it; it repeats it; it enlightens it. In speaking of it he goes through it again; in setting it before another he sets it before himself in a new light. He gets a deeper sense of its reality and power and meaning. In speaking of it he pledges himself to the conduct and life which it involves. He proclaims himself bound by it, and every time that his speech produces an effect upon another, that effect reacts upon himself, making his hold upon his truth surer and stronger. – Roland Allen, Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, p. 15

Stott quote:

Incidentally, it is highly significant both that Paul’s critics lodged the charge of antinomianism against him, and that he took time, trouble and space to answer them, without withdrawing or even modifying his message. For this shows conclusively that he did preach the gospel of grace without works. Otherwise, if he did not teach this, the objection would never have been raised. It is the same today. If we are proclaiming Paul’s gospel, with its emphasis on the freeness of grace and the impossibility of self-salvation, we are sure to provoke the charge of antinomianism. If we do not arouse this criticism, the likelihood is that we are not preaching Paul’s gospel.

– John R. W. Stott, The Message of Romans : God’s Good News for the World, The Bible speaks today, 167 (Leicester, England;  Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001, c1994).