Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Mining the Scriptures: Galatians 2:1-5

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Paul was continually embroiled in conflict with Judaizing teachers, who he here refers to as “false brethren.” Their view of the Christian faith nullified the grace of God. They viewed Christ as continuing the covenant between Jews and God, and viewed any Gentile Christian as a proselyte.

Circumcision, as a token of the covenant between God and Israel became the point of contention, and Paul was not going to compromise the gospel to appease these evil men. He protected Titus (a Gentile) by refusing to allow him to be circumcised. Paul’s correct understanding of the covenant of grace was that both He (a Jew), and Titus (a Gentile) were spiritual Jews, whose circumcision was not of the flesh, but of the heart! (cf. Romans 2:28-29).

We have liberty in Christ. Our appeal is to God’s grace. An appeal to the Old Law brings men into the bondage of sin.

Mining the Scriptures: Galatians 1:18-24

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As Paul continues the defense of his apostleship begun in verse 11, he notes that the first time he met any of the other apostles was three years after he began his ministry. Further, that on that occasion, Peter was the only apostle he met, during a two week trip to Jerusalem. (vs. 18-19).

Why would he point this out? Because of the Judaizing teachers who claimed that he was usurping his position as an apostle. Perhaps they claimed that Paul was just taking what he had heard, and parroting it while claiming an apostleship he did not deserve.

Paul’s here responds by relating his early ministry. He could not have been parroting the apostles because he hadn’t met or heard them. Instead, as he affirmed in verse 12, “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Since the gospel he preached was revealed to him by Jesus Christ, it was authoritative, and to be obeyed by the Galatians (cf. 1:6-9).

Mining the Scriptures: Galatians 1:11-17

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In the first portion of his letter to the Galatians, Paul emphasized that his apostleship was authorized by God. He asserts the fact in verse 1, and argues the assertion in verses 11-17.

When a careful study is made of Paul’s actions from the time of his conversion, his claims are corroborated. After Paul was converted, as recorded by the historian Luke in Acts 9, he immediately began to preach the gospel of Christ in the synagogues (cf. Acts 9:20). Though the book of Acts does not record the trip to Arabia, it does note that “many days were past” (9:23), and emphasized the preaching done in Damascus. So, as Paul wrote, he did not “immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus” (vs. 16-17).

Why is this significant? First, Paul did not need the apostle’s blessing to begin or accomplish his ministry. The charge he obtained was directly from the Lord (cf. Acts 22:15). Second, the message he preached was not of his own devising, but was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 9:15,17; 22:14, Galatians 1:11-12).

Mining the Scriptures: Galatians 1:1-5

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Paul begins his epistle to the Galatians in a manner typical to him. In the first few verses he defends his apostleship, and asks blessings upon his readers.

His defense of himself is especially appropriate in that the churches of Galatia had been influenced by Judaizing teachers. These false teachers not only advocated false doctrine, they also sought to destroy the reputation of Paul at every opportunity. Their chief tactic was to claim that since Paul was not one of the original apostles, he had usurped the position. In response, Paul declared that his apostleship was “not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father…” (vs. 1). The truth of this is evident in the reading of his conversion (Acts 9).

In praying for Grace and Peace for the Galatians, Paul identified Jesus as the Savior. He expressed the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice, “that He might deliver us from this present evil age.”

In that Jesus accomplished this wonderful objective, Paul rightly noted that He is solely worthy of “glory forever and ever. Amen” (vs. 5, cf. Revelation 5:1-7).

Mining The Scriptures: Galatians 1:6-10

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Galatians 1:6-10

The Apostle Paul was a stickler for accuracy. He was careful to preach the gospel as it was revealed to him, and was harshly critical of any who would “pervert the gospel of Christ.”

Of course, the condemnation was given by inspiration, and so reveals to us the attitude we must have toward God’s word. While it is popular to modify the gospel to suit the desires of men, it is not acceptable to God. Consider the severity of the condemnation, “let him be accursed.”

The word, a translation of the Greek anathema, literally means to be banned or excommunicated. The lesson? God will cut off those who change the gospel to please men!

Our purpose is to please God, not men. As such, we should be willing to preach His word to the world, even if it earns us persecution, and the disdain of others. That is what it means to be a bondservant of Jesus Christ.

Mining The Scriptures: Galatians 4:21-31

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Galatians 4:21-31

In our text, the apostle Paul uses the two wives of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, as an allegory. His words, “which things are symbolic.”

The two women represent the two covenants. Hagar is the Old Covenant “from Mount Sinai”, and Sarah the New “the Jerusalem above.”

The point of the allegory is to establish that the New Covenant, like Sarah, is to be preferred. Sarah was the mother of Isaac, the child of promise. It was through this lineage that redemption came, not from Hagar and Ishmael.

In the same way redemption is found in the New Covenant, not the Old. The New Covenant of Christ is to be preferred to the Old. We are to cast off the Old, just as the scripture says, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son.” As Paul wrote, “So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.”