Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Galatians: Chapter One Part One

"Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)"
 “Apostle”: In general terms, it means “one who is sent with a commission.” The apostles of Jesus Christ – the 12 and Paul – were special ambassadors or messengers chosen and trained by Christ to lay the foundation of the early church and be the channels of God’s completed revelation.
“Not of men … but by Jesus Christ”: To defend his apostleship against the false teachers’ attack, Paul emphasized that Christ Himself appointed him as an apostle before he met the other apostles (verses 17-18; Acts 9:3-9).
“Raised him from the dead” Paul included this important fact to show that the risen and ascended Christ Himself appointed him, thus Paul was a qualified witness of His resurrection (Acts 1:22).
Paul vehemently denies that his apostleship is due to human agency – he was not commissioned an apostle by any group (“not of men”) nor by any mortal individual (“neither by man”), but “by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead:”
Unlike the other apostles, Paul received his call from the resurrected, glorified, and exalted Jesus. This special reference to the Lord’s resurrection implicitly confirms Paul’s appointment as an apostle.
We see a declaration of who Paul is right at the very beginning. We find that Paul reminds them immediately that his call was of the Lord Himself. When we speak of a disciple of that day, we think of the 120, who had disciplined themselves to follow Jesus. We, also, think of the twelve who Jesus chose out of that larger group to make them apostles.
We then realize that Matthias was also one of them. The Lord Himself had chosen him to replace the traitor, Judas Iscariot. Paul was an apostle also, even though he was not of the original group. Jesus had appeared to him on the road to Damascus, and called him to apostleship.
Paul never forgets to remind them that Jesus rose from the dead. These people all believed in God the Father, and Paul reminds them that it was the Father's will for Jesus to rise from the dead. To call Paul an apostle, verifies the fact that his authority is from God.
Mighty signs and wonders followed these apostles. They were empowered of God to represent him in the earth. They were, also, empowered to lay hands on others that they might receive the Spirit to minister in a certain capacity. These are called, gifts of the Spirit.
One very important thing we must note in Paul's statement is that he was not called of men, or by a man. Jesus was much more than man. That is what Paul is saying there.
Galatians 1:2 "And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:"
“Churches of Galatia”: The churches Paul founded at Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe during his first missionary journey (Acts 13:14-14:23).
Notice in this, that Paul travelled with many others. There was usually a large group who went with him into each area. Probably, some of these very brethren with Paul now, were the same that had been with him establishing the churches of Galatia. Galatia was an area with many small towns, and, perhaps, each had a small group of Christians meeting in a church.
This letter is of a general nature. It is not to a specific church, but to all in this little province. These Galatians were partly European. When Gaul and this group came through this area on their way to Greece, they were stopped and surrounded. They intermarried with the local people. This, then, is speaking to these Europeans mixed with the local people.
In the 18th chapter of Acts, Galatia is spoken of as a region. It seems there was not idolatry in this area as in other areas, but Jewish teachings filtering into the church. The argument was between law and grace. This could even be thought of as between the flesh and the spirit, also. This was not an argument with those who were idolaters, but those with another doctrine.
 Verses 3-5: Paul’s deep concern over the churches; defection from the gospel is evident from his greeting, which lacks his customary commendations and courtesies, and is instead brief and impersonal.
Galatians 1:3 "Grace [be] to you and peace from God the Father, and [from] our Lord Jesus Christ,"
“Grace be to you and peace” Even Paul’s typical greeting attacked the Judaizers’ legalistic system. If salvation is by works as they claimed, it is not of “grace” and cannot result in “peace,” since no one can be sure he has enough good works to be eternally secure.
This statement is strictly a statement of Paul. He spoke this often. "Grace", of course, means unmerited favor. All Christians received grace, not because of their actions, but because of God's love toward them.
The only real peace is the peace of God. Even in the midst of terrible trials and temptations, we can know this peace of God. It surpasses the reason of man. Jesus is the King of Peace.
Peace will reign on this earth the 1000 years that Jesus brings peace to the earth. In the meantime, there will be no peace on the earth, except that inner peace that Christians have when they totally trust the Lord Jesus.
We have mentioned before, the name of Jesus meaning Savior, and the name Christ meaning the anointed one, or Messiah. The Old Testament uses the name Lord for the same person the New Testament calls Jesus Christ. These Jewish people were looking for Messiah. This is Paul's way of telling them that Jesus was their long awaited Messiah.
Galatians 1:4 "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:"
“For our sins”: No one can avoid sin by human effort or law-keeping (Rom. 3:20); therefore it must be forgiven, which Christ accomplished through His atoning death on the cross (3:13).
“Present evil world”: (or age). The Greek word for “age” does not refer to a period of time but an order or system, and in particular to the current world system ruled by Satan.
“To the will of God”: The sacrifice of Christ for salvation was the will of God designed and fulfilled for His glory. Matt. 26:42; John 6:38-40; Acts 2:22-23; Rom. 8:3, 31-32; Eph. 1:7, 11; Heb. 10:4-10.
“Who gave himself for our sins” (“since He gave Himself for our sins”): This confirms the divine desire expressed in verse 3. In view of Jesus’ sacrificing Himself for believers, it is certainly His wish that they may receive “grace” and “peace.” “that he might deliver us” is more accurately rendered “that He alone might deliver us.”
The expression “He alone” means Jesus rather than anyone else. This strikes the epistle’s keynote, for the gospel is an emancipation from a state of spiritual bondage. And the clause also strikes at the Galatians’ theological error of trying to rescue themselves by their own effort through the law.
Jesus, willingly, gave Himself to save His people. All of creation belonged to Jesus. He was Creator God. In John chapter one, we find that He made all things, and without Him was not anything created. It was right that the Creator would give His flesh for His creation.
Jesus did follow the will of the Father in the crucifixion, but it was Jesus' choice to do, or not to do. He gave His body on the cross to purchase our salvation. We see in the following Scripture, that it was within the will of Jesus to do with His own life as He would.
John 10:18 "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."
Egypt is a type of this evil world we live in. I have said over and over that we must leave Egypt, before we can go to the Promised Land. The Promised Land for a Christian is heaven. Jesus is the door that we enter in by.
 Galatians 1:5 "To whom [be] glory forever and ever. Amen."
Paul stops to glorify the Father and the Son here. This glory shall never cease. "Amen" means so be it.  
Verse 6-7: “Ye are so soon removed” can be translated, “you are so quickly deserting.” The Galatians are in the initial stages of defecting from God to “another gospel.” The Greek word rendered “another” is heteron which means “another of a different kind.” The Judaizers’ gospel is not the same one Paul preached to the readers.
In verse 7 the apostle goes on to affirm that their gospel “is not another.” The Greek word here translated “another” is allo which means “another of the same kind.” So the message of salvation proclaimed by the legalists is vastly different from the true one.
Galatians 1:6 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:"
“So soon”: This Greek word can mean either “easily” or “quickly” and sometimes both. No doubt both senses characterized the Galatians’ response to the false teachers’ heretical doctrines.
“Removed” or deserting: The Greek word was used of military desertion, which was punishable by death. The form of this Greek word indicates that the Galatian believers were voluntarily deserting grace to pursue the legalism taught by the false teachers.
 “Called you”: This could be translated, “who called you once and for all” (2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; 1 Pet. 1:15), and refers to God’s effectual call to salvation.
“Grace of Christ”: God’s free and sovereign act of mercy in granting salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ, totally apart from any human work or merit.
“Another gospel”: 2 Cor. 11:4. The Judaizers’ perversion of the true gospel. They added the requirements, ceremonies, and standards of the Old covenant as necessary prerequisites to salvation.
God, Himself, had called them into the grace of Christ, through the teaching of Paul. He is amazed that they have already forgotten the teachings he had brought to them, and had gotten into error. It seems that the very minute he left, they started listening to these Judaizers who were trying to put them under Moses' law.
Paul is very disappointed that the gospel that he gave them was not better rooted within them. The thought that they would turn from his teachings so fast, makes Paul believe they are unstable in their belief. They would be like those fallen away from grace. They are actually saying, that grace is of none effect. All of this is beyond Paul's comprehension.
 Galatians 1:7 "Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ."
“Trouble”: The Greek word means “to shake back and forth,” meaning to agitate or stir up. Here, it refers to the deep emotional disturbance the Galatian believers experienced.
“Pervert” To turn something into its opposite. By adding law to the gospel of Christ, the false teachers were effectively destroying grace, turning the message of God’s undeserved favor toward sinners into a message of earned and merited favor.
“The gospel of Christ”: The good news of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
Christianity brings hope. To go back to the law would not be good news (gospel) at all. The condemnation of the law brought hopelessness. For any Christian to give up the hope that is in Christ for the hopelessness of the law is not understandable.
"Pervert" in this Scripture, means corrupt. This, then, would mean that they had changed it, and corrupted the message of hope that Paul had brought them.
 Verses 8-9: Throughout history God has devoted certain objects, individuals, and groups of people to destruction (Jos. 6:17-18; 7:1, 25-26). The New Testament offers many examples of one such group: false teachers (Matt. 24:24; John 8:44; 1 Tim. 1:20; Titus 1:16). Here the Judaizers are identified as members of this infamous company.
Galatians 1:8 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
This verse shows that the message, not the messenger, is of utmost importance. The Galatian controversy is not over teachers or personalities, but over truth and error. Even a heavenly angel, if he preaches error, is to “be accursed,” that is, eternally condemned.
We know that Paul was primarily speaking of the message he had brought them, but as we have said before, many ministers travelled with Paul and they all brought this same message of hope. There are two kinds of angels. The angels that stayed in heaven, and did not follow Lucifer, minister well. The angels that followed Lucifer out of heaven are already cursed of God.
They minister lies and deception, because they are working for that old devil Lucifer. Many people call them demons. They would definitely try to bring another message that would put you back under the law. Jesus commissioned Paul to bring the good news of the gospel, not the bad news of the law.

2 Corinthians Chapter 6

2 Corinthians 6:1
Most Corinthians’ were saved but were being hindered by legalistic teaching regarding sanctification. Some were not truly saved but deceived by a gospel of works being taught by false teachers.
This is a plea from Paul for the people of this church at Corinth to realize that he is a messenger {ambassador} for Christ. The message Paul brought, was Christ's message to them. Then he says, if you received it as I believe you did, tell others so that they may have this message of hope as well. Do not let the gospel message stop with you {be in vain}. Paul is calling them to testify of the truth of the gospel to everyone they have opportunity to.
I Peter 4:10 "As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
2 Corinthians 6:2
Paul emphasized his point by quoting Isaiah 49:8: “Thus saith the LORD, in an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;”
He was passionately concerned that the Corinthian adhere to the truth because it was God’s time to save and they were messengers for helping to spread that message.
"Succored", in this Scripture, means aid or relieve. No one should ever put off salvation to a more convenient time. We are not promised tomorrow. We do not even know whether we will be alive or not tomorrow. The Spirit might even stop drawing you at another time. Today is the day of salvation. Even better, right this minute is the time for salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:3
This is the same as saying; do not even give the appearance of evil. The only glimpse of what Christianity is all about is sometimes us Christians.  The non-believer does not go to church, or read his Bible, or listen to sermons. He has no way of knowing anything about Christianity, except the life we live before him.
The faithful ambassador of Christ does nothing to discredit his ministry, but everything he can to protect its integrity, the gospel’s integrity, and God’s integrity.
Is your life a testimony for Jesus? If a Christian does something bad, and it makes the news, the unbelieving world thinks all Christians are like that. It drives them away from receiving Christ in their lives. Christianity gets a black eye for what a few fallen Christians do. We must behave {all the time} in a Christ-like manner.
2 Corinthians 6:4
Commend means “introduce,” with the connotation of proving oneself. The most convincing proof is the patient endurance of character reflected in Paul’s hardships and the nature of his ministry.
2 Corinthians 6:5
Here Paul commended himself to them by mentioning his faithfulness in enduring persecution and citing his diligence in ministry labors, to the point of anguished deprivations when necessary.
Are you a Christian just when everything is going alright, or are you like Job: a Christian in hard times, too? The world is looking on to see how you handle the difficult times in your life. The world has no answer to this type of problem. God will help you, if you stand fast and don't doubt.
2 Corinthians 6:6
Now, we see the standard that we should endure these problems with. We should be absolutely honest with God, with our self and with others. Knowledge, you remember, is accumulated learning. The Bible teaches us how to withstand these onslaughts from Satan. We are to put on the whole armor of God. Read the 6th chapter of Ephesians beginning with the 11th verse to see the whole armor.
In time of troubles, we should allow the Spirit of God within us to take over. The Holy Spirit needs to guide us through. We should never stop loving, even the enemy. This, too, will pass. It is not how many problems you have that are important, but how you handle those problems.
Paul commended himself positively by listing the important elements fo the righteousness God had granted to him. Paul lived and walked by the power of the Spirit. It was the central reason that all the other positive elements of his endurance were a reality.
2 Corinthians 6:7
We know that every temptation Satan brought to Jesus, He answered "It is written". This is a guide to us. We must face each problem, or temptation, with "It is written". The answers to all of life's problems are found in the Bible. We must use the Bible as our guide in every situation. The power of God working in us can overcome all obstacles.
Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Paul never operated beyond the boundaries of the direction and guidance of divine revelation. Nor did he rely on his own strength when he ministered. He did not fight Satan’s kingdom with

human resources, but with spiritual virtue such as the sword of the Spirit, and defensive tools, such as the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation.
Perhaps, the right and left side means that whether this is coming from the world {left side}, or other Christians {right side}, it can be overcome with righteousness.
2 Corinthians 6:8
Paul is just saying that it does not matter where the accusations are coming from. It really does not matter whether they are even true, or not. They are still overcome by the Word of God and righteousness. 
Just stand in your righteousness and all of the deceivers will finally be embarrassed when they are found out for what they are. (Paul’s opponents at Corinth had accused him of being an impostor and a false apostle – John 7:12).
2 Corinthians 6:9
Problems come from those you know, as well as from strangers. The intentions of those who are bringing the problems may be to cause your death, but they will not succeed.
This scripture has a twofold reference.
1.      The fact that Christians did not know him before he began persecuting them
2.      His rejection by the community of leading Jews and Pharisees following his conversion.
He had become unknown to his former world, and well known and well loved by the Christian community.
2 Corinthians 6:10
Circumstances around you may be sorrowful, yet unexplainable joy, in the face of these bad circumstances, can be had in Jesus.
Paul said that he had learned to be satisfied in times when he had plenty and in times of want. Whatever state he found himself in, he was content. The spiritual wealth Paul possessed and imparted did much to make his hearers spiritually wealthy.
2 Corinthians 6:11
Paul is saying that he has opened his mouth and brought the message of salvation to these Corinthians. He loves them as a parent loves a child. His heart is with them.
To enlarge the heart is to increase its capacity for sympathy and understanding.
The evidence of Paul’s genuine love for the Corinthians was that no matter how some of them had mistreated him, he still loved them and had room for them in his heart.
2 Corinthians 6:12
This is just another way of saying that Paul is not going to straighten them out; they will have to straighten themselves out. He can tell them what is wrong, but they will have to straighten themselves out.
2 Corinthians 6:13
Now for a recompense of the same as my parental tenderness. I speak as to my children - I ask nothing hard or grievous. Be ye also enlarged - Open your hearts, first to God, and then to us, (2 Cor 8:5), so that God may dwell in you, (2 Cor 6:16; 7:1) and that ye may receive us, (2 Cor 7:2).
Recompense has numerous meanings such as: Avenge; Pay; Render; Reward; Vengeance
2 Corinthians 6:14
This does not mean that you should not witness to those that are lost. It is saying; don't get involved in their way of life. There is sin by association. It is strange, but it seems bad rubs off on good more often than good rubs off on bad. This can mean for those who are believers not to intermarry with those of unbelief. It, also, means for the Christians not to get closely related in friendships with those people of the world.
Christians are not to be bound together with non Christians in any spiritual enterprise or relationship that would be detrimental to the Christian’s testimony within the body of Christ.
Darkness symbolizes evil.
But this command does not mean believers should end all associations with unbelievers; that would defy the purpose for which God saved believers and left them on earth. The implausibility of such religious alliances is made clear in verses 14b-17.
2 Corinthians 6:15
"Belial" means worthlessness, as an epithet of Satan. That is exactly what Satan is, worthless. All of the comparisons above are opposites. Christ and Satan are opposites. "Infidel" means disbelieving. The answer is that they have nothing in common.
 2 Corinthians 6:16
Romans 8:9 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." 
We have said so many times in these lessons that the Spirit of the Risen Christ dwells in the Christian. The Holy Spirit of God is in us to teach the truth of God, and to direct our lives pleasing unto God. This is the very reason it is so important that the Christian not get involved in any sin that involves the body. You would be including the Holy Spirit of God in your sin.
The temple of God (true Christianity) and idols (idolatrous, demonic false religions) and utterly incompatible.
God is a Spirit. He can dwell in my heart and be in heaven all at the same time. He is omnipresent {everywhere all at the same time}. We live in God and He lives in us. You can easily see why it is so important for the Christian to live a life pleasing unto God. We should not go anywhere we could not take God, or do anything that He would not be willing to do.
2 Corinthians 6:17
Christians have to live in the world, until we go home to heaven, but we must not be entangled with the world or its people. We must spiritually separate ourselves unto holiness and righteousness.
When believers are saved, they are to disengage themselves from all forms of false religion and make a clean break from all sinful habits and old idolatrous patterns.
God said to the believers, "Be ye holy, for I am holy". We are like an island surrounded by water. We are the island, and the world is the water. We have a hedge of the blood of Jesus which protects us from the world coming too close. We are separated unto God. In other words, we have come over to God's side. We have left the evil of the world behind.
2 Corinthians 6:18
This is one of the few places that Christian women are spoken of as daughters. We are children of the Father. We have been adopted into the family of God. Jesus is our older brother.
Romans 8:15 "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." 
As a result of separating themselves from false doctrine and practice, believers will know the full richness of what it means to be children of God.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Introduction to Galatians:

The letter to the Galatians claims the apostle Paul as its writer (1:1, 5:2), and this is attested by the brief autobiography in 1:12-24, as well as by the epistle’s language, style, vocabulary, and theology.
The letter is addressed “unto the churches of Galatia” (1:2), and its readers are called “Galatians” (3:1). The term Galatia was originally used in an ethnic manner, referring to north central Asia Minor settled by the invading Gauls. Later “Galatia” was employed in a political sense, referring to the Roman province that included the cities south of the Gaulish territory: Lystra, Derbe, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch.  While it is uncertain whether the letter was sent to North or South Galatia, this problem has little bearing on the value or understanding of the epistle.

If the letter was sent to North Galatia, Paul and his missionary team planted the Galatian churches during his second missionary journey. So the epistle was written to them from either Ephesus (A.D. 54) or Macedonia (A.D. 55) while on his third missionary journey. But if the letter was addressed to the political (South) Galatia; then Paul started the church on his first missionary trip, writing to them at the end of this journey from his home church in Antioch (A.D. 49). Paul had led the Galatians to Christ (3:1). They had made a good start in the Christian life (3:3) and were doing well spiritually (5:7). Later, some Jewish teachers (called Judaizers) taught the Galatians that to be saved one must not only believe in Christ, but must also obey the Mosaic Law, the sign of which is circumcision. In preaching this heresy, they also attacked Paul’s apostleship and gospel. Their false gospel had a detrimental effect on the Galatians: it was beginning to hinder their obedience to God (5:7), they were starting to observe some parts of the law (4:10), and they were considering a complete acceptance of the law (12:6; 4:9).

Paul seeks to expose the error of the Judaizers’ gospel and their impure motives (6:12-13). His ultimate goal is to prevent the readers from embracing a false gospel and to encourage them to retain their spiritual freedom in Christ (5:1). The apostle does not want his dear converts to be tied up with all the now abolished rules and regulations of the Mosaic Law, which will lead them into legalism.

The central feature of the letter is justification by God’s grace through faith.

In chapters 1 and 2 Paul defends his gospel, arguing that it is the true message of salvation since he received it directly from Christ. Then in chapters 3 and 4 he defines exactly what his gospel is: man is justified (saved) not by keeping the law, but by God’s grace alone, that is, through his faith in Christ’s atoning death. Last, in chapters 5 and 6 the apostle briefly applies his gospel to various areas of daily living.