He Was To Be Blamed

Posted by on Aug 20, 2006

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

August 20, 2006

Sunday Morning

“He Was To Be Blamed”

Scripture Text: Galatians 2:11-21

Introduction:

 

A.   As I studied last week preparing for this morning’s message, I couldn’t help but think about what the Roman Catholic Church teaches concerning the office of Pope.

1. Of course, we know that the Bible says absolutely nothing about the existence of such an office.

2. Our Catholic friends, however, not only acknowledge such an office, they also believe that the man who occupies that office is “infallible.”

3. What do they mean by “infallible”?

4. Well, I looked up the word “infallible” in Webster’s dictionary and found the following definition, infallible means “incapable of error.”

5. And so, based on the meaning of that word, our Catholic friends must believe that the man who occupies the office of Pope is “incapable of error.”

6. But that’s not all.

7. Not only do Catholics believe that their Popes are infallible, they also believe that Peter was the first Pope!

 

B.   This would be funny, if it weren’t so sad.

1. Why? Because Peter was anything but infallible.

2. Do you remember what Peter did soon after they came and arrested Jesus?

3. Even though Peter had told the Lord that he would never forsake Him and would even die for Him, if called upon to do so, the Bible says that he did forsake Him.

4. Not only did He forsake Him, but he denied Him thrice.

5. But someone says, “Wait a minute. That’s not fair! Yes, Peter did forsake the Lord, and, yes, he did deny the Lord thrice. However, that was before Pentecost! That was before he received the power of the Holy Spirit!”

6. You’re right, that was before Pentecost.

7. However, Peter was ever bit as fallible after Pentecost!

8. How do I know that?

9. I know that because of how he acted when he went to Antioch to visit with his Gentile brothers who made up the church there.

 

C.   Notice again what Paul wrote in Vrs. 11-12 of our text, “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed….For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.”

1. Do you understand what happened here?

2. Peter went to Antioch to visit with Paul and Barnabas and the rest of the church there.

3. Remember now, that this church was made up primarily of Gentile believers.

4. However, when Peter arrived, he was warmly received by the church there and even accepted invitations to “break bread” (share a meal) in some of the homes of his Gentile brothers.

5. By the way, this may very well have been the first time that Peter ever “broke bread” in the home of a Gentile.

6. Why did he do it on this occasion?

7. I would imagine he did so to demonstrate to his Gentile brothers the truth that is taught in Gal. 3:28, which says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

8. And so, everything was going well with Peter’s visit UNTIL a certain group of Jewish believers arrived from Jerusalem.

9. When Peter heard these guys were in town, he completely changed his behavior.

10.   Whereas before he was fellow shipping with his Gentile brothers, he stopped fellow shipping with them.

11.   Whereas before he was going into their homes, he stopped going into their homes.

12.   Whereas before he was “breaking bread” with them, he stopped breaking bread with them.

13.   His behavior completely changed with regards to his Gentile brothers (he became a different person).

14.   Why did his behavior change?

15.   His behavior changed because Peter was afraid of what these Jewish believers might think of him if they knew that he had actually dined with a Gentile.

16.   Now any way you look at this, Peter was wrong!

17.   That’s why I say that even after Pentecost, Peter was anything but infallible.

18.   He was the same fallible human being he had always been, and his cowardly actions in Antioch were evidence of this fact!

 

D.   Now this morning, I want us to focus our attention on Peter’s actions. First of all, I want us to consider…

 

I.       The Core Of Peter’s Actions.

 

A.   Let me ask you a question.

1. Why were Peter’s actions wrong?

2. Peter’s actions were wrong because at the core (heart) of his actions was the sin of hypocrisy.

3. What is hypocrisy?

4. Hypocrisy can be defined in at least two ways.

5. First of all, hypocrisy can be defined as “pretending to be something that you are not.”

6. In fact, the Greek word that is translated “hypocrite” (hupokrites) in the New Testament literally means “an actor under an assumed character.”

7. Judas is undoubtedly the best biblical example of a hypocrite.

8. As you well know, Judas pretended to be…

-a believer,

-a disciple,

-a true follower of Christ,

yet Jesus said that he was “a devil.” (John 6:70)

9. And so, hypocrisy can be defined as pretending to be something that you are not.

 

B.   Hypocrisy can also be defined as “being two-faced.”

1. In other words, acting one way when you are around one group of people, and acting another way when you are around a different group people.

2. Isn’t that what Peter did? When he was around his Gentile brothers, he acted one way, however, when we was around his Jewish brothers, he acted totally different (he became a totally different person).

3. I’m afraid that many professing Christians are just like Peter, they are two-faced.

4. When they are around Christian people, they act like Christians, however, when they are around unsaved people, they act like the world.

5. (Illus.- I remember a number of years ago I was in a home trying to share the gospel with a man and lead him to Christ. I hadn’t gotten very far into my presentation when the man stopped me and said, “Is So & So a member of your church?” He called the name of a man who was not only a member of our church, but a very faithful attender. When I told him that this man was, in fact, a member of our church, he said something to this effect. He said, “I work with him every day on the job and he is anything but a Christian!” He then went on to share with me the ungodly manner in which this man conducted himself on the job. My heart just sank, not only because of what I had just learned, but also because I knew my chances of winning this man to Christ were slim to none.)

6. Are you like that brother?

7. Do you act one way when you are around your Christian brothers and sisters, and then act another way when you are around your unsaved co-workers?

8. Do you use your voice to sing praises to God on Sunday, and then use that same voice to utter profanities on Monday?

9. I certainly hope not!

10.   If you are, you are not only disappointing your Lord, but you are also hurting the cause of Christ by bringing shame and reproach upon His name!

 

C.   We need to realize the folly of trying to live a double life.

1. Do you remember what Jesus said in Mat. 6:24? He said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.”

2. James put it like this in Jam. 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

3. What are these two passages telling us?

4. They are telling us that we can’t have it both ways.

5. They are telling us that we can’t…

-serve God and serve this world at the same time,

-live a Christian life and worldly life at the same time,

-be God’s friend and the world’s fried at the same time.

6. We have to choose one or the other.

7. Hopefully, we will choose to serve God! (Amen?)

 

D.   And so, at the core of Peter’s actions was the sin of hypocrisy.

1. Peter was two-faced, acting one way when he was around his Gentile brothers, but acting totally different when he was around his Jewish brothers.

2. This, of course, was totally unacceptable.

 

E.   Now I want us to consider…

II.      The Consequence Of Peter’s Actions.

 

A.   The consequence of Peter’s actions was two-fold.

1. First of all, Peter’s sin affected him.

2. In addition to damaging his fellowship with God, I’m sure it also damaged his fellowship with his Gentile brothers.

3. How do you think they felt when they saw how Peter behaved himself?

4. If I had been one of them, I would have said, “Peter, just go on back to Jerusalem where you belong, and don’t bother coming back to Antioch!”

5. And so, first of all, Peter’s sin affected him.

 

B.   But that’s not the worst consequence of Peter’s actions.

1. Not only did his sin affect him, but his sin also affected others.

2. Notice again Vrs. 13 of our text, “And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.”

3. That word “dissembled” means “acted in a hypocritical manner.”

4. And so, what this verse is saying is that the rest of the Jews in the church at Antioch, including Barnabas, went along with Peter and acted in the same hypocritical manner in which he acted.

5. Because of Peter’s respected position as one of the original twelve apostles, when he sinned, he also encouraged others to sin with him.

 

C.   There is a very important lesson that we all need to learn here.

1. When we sin, our sin not only affects us, but it also affects those around us.

2. This is especially true if we, like Peter, are in a position of authority.

 

3. (Illus.- Let me illustrate. Every now and then you will hear about a pastor who is caught in some sin, such as the sin of adultery. Let me ask you a question. When that happens, is he the only one who is hurt by his sin? Of course not. If he has a family, his family is hurt. And even if he doesn’t have a family, the church family will likely be devastated. And that’s not all. The time will probably come when some member of that church will commit the same sin, and he will try to justify it by saying, “My pastor did it, why shouldn’t I?”)

4. But someone says, “Wait a minute, pastor. Only a very weak person could be influenced in that manner.”

5. Really? How do explain Barnabas?

6. Would you say that Barnabas was a really weak person?

7. Of course not!

8. Yet Barnabas fell under the influence of Peter!

9. It can happen to any of us, if we are not careful.

10.   (Illus.- Another example of someone in authority is parents. Let me ask you a question. When a parent engages in sinful behavior, is he or she the only ones who are hurt? Of course not! The children will also be hurt. It is very probable that children will follow in the sinful footsteps of their parents and will try to justify their sin by saying, “If Dad did it, why shouldn’t I?” Or, “If Mom did it, why shouldn’t I?”)

11.   And so, when we sin, our sin not only affects us, but it also affects those around us.

 

D.   Do you remember what Paul wrote in Rom. 14:7? He said, “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.”

1. In other words, “Every man’s life and every man’s death will affect others!”

2. By the way, this works both ways!

3. Not only do we influence others negatively when we do wrong, we also influence others in a positive way when we do right! (Amen?)

4. This is what’s called being a positive role model.

5. May God help us all to be positive role models.

 

E.   And so, the consequence of Peter’s actions was that others were influenced in a negative way, including Barnabas, and were actually caught up in Peter’s hypocrisy.

 

F.    Finally, this morning, I want us to notice…

 

III.    The Confronting Of Peter’s Actions.

 

A.   When Paul saw what Peter did and how his good friend, Barnabas, was caught up in Peter’s hypocrisy, he immediately confronted Peter.

1. Notice again Vrs. 14-15 of our text, “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?…We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles.”

2. There are two things that I want to point out here, before we proceed.

3. First of all, Paul was not afraid to confront sin, no matter who was involved in the sin.

4. We must remember that Peter was a very powerful man.

5. He was one of the original twelve apostles.

6. He was one of the leaders of the Jerusalem church.

7. He was the one who preached that famous sermon on the Day of Pentecost that resulted in 3,000 souls being saved.

8. Yet Paul was not afraid to confront him with his sin!

9. We too need to be courageous enough to confront sin, no matter how powerful or influential the person is who is involved in the sin.

10.   (Illus.- For example, if the time should ever come that my behavior becomes unacceptable, I do hope that some of you good men will have the courage to confront me with my sin, even though I am your pastor.)

11.   The second thing I want to point out is that Paul not only confronted Peter, he confronted him publicly.

12.   Paul said, “…I said unto Peter before them all.” (Vrs. 14)

13.   Because Peter’s sin was a public sin, Paul’s confrontation was a public confrontation.

14.   There is a flip side to this coin, however.

15.   While public sins require public confrontations, private sins call for private confrontations.

 

B.   Now why did Paul feel compelled to confront Peter with his sin?

1. He felt compelled because Peter was sending the wrong message to the Gentile believers at Antioch.

2. By the way that he was acting, he was telling his Gentile brothers that because they…

-were not Jews,

-had not been circumcised,

-the only thing they had going for them was simple faith in Christ as Savior,

that they were somehow lacking!

3. In so many words, Paul said, “Peter, why are you sending them this message. You know as well as I do that one is not saved by conforming to the law, but rather by trusting in Jesus Christ.

4. Notice again Vrs. 16 of our text, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

 

C.   Then in the next four verses (Vrs. 17-20) Paul presents the following argument.

1. He said, “Acknowledging that we are sinners incapable of saving ourselves by keeping the law is not nearly as bad as telling someone that they do not have to keep the law in order to be saved, and then turning right around and telling them just the opposite. (Vrs. 17-18)

2. By the way, that’s exactly what Peter had done.

3. Paul went on to say, “I stopped trying to save myself by keeping the law, so that I could trust Christ and thereby receive eternal life as a gift from God.” (Vrs. 19)

4. By the way, a person never will be saved until they stop trying to save themselves!

5. As long as a person keeps trying to save themselves by their own efforts, they never will put their faith in what Jesus did for them on the cross and be saved by trusting in Him.

6. Paul went on to say, “When Christ died on the cross, I died with him, and now that I am saved, He lives within me, and every day that I live, I live trusting in the One who loves me and died for me.” (Vrs. 20)

7. Paul just keeps pointing out, over and over again, that salvation comes as a result of trusting in Christ, not by keeping the law of Moses.

 

D.   Notice how Paul concludes his argument in Vrs. 21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

1. In other words, Paul said, if we could be saved by…

-keeping the law,

-doing good works,

-being a good neighbor,

-any efforts whatsoever of our own,

then Christ died in vain.

2. If we can make to heaven on our own, then Christ’s precious blood was shed for nothing.

3. This, of course, is ludicrous.

4. We do need Christ! (Amen?)

5. Christ did not die in vain!

6. Christ’s precious blood was not shed for nothing.

7. There’s absolutely no way that we can make it to heaven on our own (by our own efforts)!!!

Conclusion:

 

A.   What have we noticed about Peter’s actions in Antioch.

1. The core of Peter’s actions (the sin of hypocrisy).

2. The consequence of Peter’s actions (others were carried away with him in his hypocrisy).

3. The confronting of Peter’s actions (Paul confronted Peter publicly, not just because he was being a hypocrite, but more so because he was sending the wrong message).

 

B.   Are you saved?

1. If you are trying to save yourself, then I can assure you that you are not saved.

2. You never will be saved until you admit that you cannot save yourself, and trust Christ totally to save you and take you to heaven.

3. Paul wrote in Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:…Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

 

C.   If you are saved, are you guilty of the sin of hypocrisy?

1. Do you act one way when you are around other Christians, but act in a totally different manner when you are around the unsaved?

2. Remember now, we cannot be God’s friend and a friend of the world at the same time.

3. We must choose one or the other.

4. Who’s friend are you?

 

D.   (Prayer & Invitation)