Please remember that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly what was preached.
We have got to understand that the issue at stake here is not what one ate or who with. The issue that Paul is dealing with is the true Gospel, Salvation by faith alone, in Christ alone. If gentile believers were really included in the Gospel of Grace, then that meant that they were part of the Church/True Israel, who followed the prophesied Messiah that the Old Testament writers pointed to. Were the gentile believers a part of the Church or not? The vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16 God had shown Peter what was right.
For Peter/Cephas to separate himself from the common table of fellowship was to put himself back under the law. It is not Jesus plus the Law. Jews and gentiles alike, all are redeemed through the cross, the good news, the Gospel – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. All are enabled and indwelled by the Same Holy Spirit and all are partakers of the same fellowship, the same people—God’s people!
In Paul’s letter to the Churches in Ephesus, to the Ephesians, he clearly states how the Jews and gentiles are made one in Christ Jesus, “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Ephesians 2:11-16).
The Holy Spirit tells us, “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:1-6).
Read Galatians 2:15-16
Paul understands that the Law is holy, given to us all by a Holy God, but that the law in and of itself cannot produce a right standing before God.
He states in Romans, “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (Romans 7:7-12).
Peter allowed the flesh, his pride, his ego, to get in the way of the Gospel. Again, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
What is Flesh? The body and its wants and desires. The physical, or carnal, nature of humankind. Sensual appetites; things that please the senses.
Desire or lust of the flesh: What is Lust? An overwhelming desire or craving, intense eagerness or enthusiasm, unbridled/uncontrolled “NEED” that produces undesirable results: Smoking leads to cancer; abnormal sexual desires lead to STD’s, divorce, rape, etc.; overeating can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.
The temptation is to give our time, talents, and even our money/tithe to the desires of the flesh, what we want over what is desired by God, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16).
And He (Jesus) said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. – Luke 9:23
We are to live in the flesh but not of the flesh. Are you living to please God or Self?
If I, through works of the Law, by following it to the letter, could get to heaven, then Christ died for nothing! I cannot get me to heaven! I/ego gets in the way! Ego: self-esteem, self-importance, self-worth, self-respect, self-conceit, self-image, self-confidence. The Big I! I/ego must be crucified in order to follow Christ! Can we, with Paul, proclaim, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). If not, then deny yourself and humbly come and pray. Crucify the flesh with its passions and pride!
- Are you living to please the flesh or your Savior?
- Where do you truly place your faith?
- Have you made THE decision to crucify the flesh?