BIG IDEA: All believers are justified by their faith, not by their obedient effort. MAIN PROBLEM Division in the church over their gospel freedom from following religious regulations. Galatians 2:1-10,14 4 Even that question came up only because of some so-called believers there—false ones, really—who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. 5 But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you. 12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, Galatians 6:11–13, 15-16 11 NOTICE WHAT LARGE LETTERS I USE AS I WRITE THESE CLOSING WORDS IN MY OWN HANDWRITING. 12 Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. 13 And even those who advocate circumcision don’t keep the whole law themselves. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast about it and claim you as their disciples. 15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. 16 May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. Two Ways The Gospel Leads To Freedom The gospel leads to freedom. The gospel leads to freedom. We obey in the freedom of gratitude. We obey not in the fear and insecurity of hoping to earn our salvation, but in the freedom and security of knowing we are already saved in Christ. Two Marks Indicating You Are In Real Unity You anyone & everyone who is “in Christ Jesus” (v 4), regardless of their cultural and ethnic background. Many churches will say that we are saved by faith alone, but we can only be sure that we are real Christians if we have these distinctions. You that we have different callings. “7 Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. If They Fail To Follow The Truth Of The Gospel, Preserve The Truth 5 But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you. 14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, If we fail to adapt the gospel message at all, to the interests of people. If we over-adapt it and lose its essence. By doing either of these we will fail to persuade and win people into its joy and freedom. WARNING: Know The Limits of Gospel Unity We must never exclude someone whom God has included in His people. Churches must not maintain unity at the expense of the gospel. Division and slavery were things Paul “ refused to give in to ... for a single moment. (v5) ” —neither will we! CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION Describe what it says about God that he has “justified you by faith alone” and not by your “obedient effort”. What does that mean to you? In which areas have you been trying to “increasingly walk in line with the gospel” over the last month? The last year? Gut check: Are there people in God’s church family you have not been “eating with” because they are not “like you”? What self-righteousness lies beneath this attitude? How could you motivate yourself, and other Christians, less with guilt and more with the gospel?