Friday, March 4, 2011

Touching Base! Part 117

K.I.S.S - Galatians 2:1-9

(This article can also we found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

I think we would all agree that most of us have a tendency to take the simple and, at times, make it complicated. On Sunday, I used a clean desk vs. a messy desk and a clean garage vs. a messy garage to help visualize this issue. Think about your own life and how you may have this tendency? Where does it show up? If married, is this one area that makes you and your spouse very different or very much the same?

Our text this past Sunday was Galatians 2:1-9. The issue in Galatians was not garages and desks but the Gospel. There were those Judaizers - messy garage people who were taking the simplicity of the Gospel and making it very complex - messy! Then there was another group - lets call them the clean garage people - who wanted to keep the Gospel simple. The issue at hand was whether Gentiles needed to become Jewish in order to be acceptable to God and essentially follow Christ. The big idea on Sunday that we camped out on was – Keeping The Gospel Simple Is Not So Simple!

Textual Observations - vs. 1-2
On thing I really admire about Paul is that he knows he has a potentially explosive issue on his hands. There is the potential for the church to split into two denominations - Jewish nationalistic (messy garage people) vs. universalistic Christianity (clean garage people). Therefore, Paul handles this potentially explosive issue in a very wise manner. He first goes to the pillars (v.9) of the church privately. He goes to present the simplicity of the Gospel to these pillars. Sometimes how we handle certain situations whether at work, home, church can exacerbate the problem. The bigger problem can become how someone mishandled dealing with the problem. We unfortunately are all too familiar with how tough issues were made tougher because someone did not handle the situation wisely. Notice that in v.1,2 Paul handles this situation privately in a group of 4 or 5. However in v.11 he dealt with Peter face-to-face on a very personal issue - how we handle a problem is as important as the problem itself. Ever had to handle the terrible fall-out of how people mishandled dealing with a complex issue?

Vs. 3-4
Notice that what motivated Paul was keeping the Gospel simple. Essentially, he was guarding the truth of the Gospel (Gal. 1:3) and coming to the defence of the “Tituses” of the world. You see, Barnabas was Jewish but Titus was a Gentile. So guess what? The spies (messy garage guys) wanted to make it a lot harder for the “Titus” converts to follow Jesus. On Sunday I developed the character of Titus. As a group, make some observations about the tension between the spies and Titus.
How was their message different than Paul’s? How could this make Titus feel, potentially?
To help you answer this question- imagine how Titus would feel around these spies who told him that he did not fit in because he ate non-kosher foods, and didn’t respect their ceremonial washing rituals, and did not understand their “Jewishese” (like “Christianese” - referencing lingo that Christians may understand but the outsider may find difficult to grasp).
How might he have felt when they pulled out a scalpel and said - “Oh, and there is one more thing we need to tell you…!” (Check out the new movie- Blade Runner- starring Titus and three masked spies with a very sharp blade!)

Now let’s bring this scenario up to date – 2011:
Do you think there are any “Tituses” today?
Has any new believer ever felt intimidated because they didn’t know the lingo?
Anybody confused regarding what it means to be a Christian because the church has sent out confusing messages?
Anyone outside the church who can barely see the Gospel because there is all this stuff - messy garage?

As a group, talk about some of the stuff that can hinder a person’s sightline to seeing the simplicity of the Gospel. If you were there on Sunday you saw my Dentyne illustration.
On Sunday I talked about-
  • Language - “I’m a Baptist or an Anglican.”
  • Personality Cult - where the name of a leader becomes more prominent than Christ. Note that Paul refused to baptize many people because he wanted to make sure people saw Jesus, not Paul - 1 Cor. 1:12-16, 31
  • Traditions - Regarding world missions - We export our culture and all of our western practices (like Meredith did on Sunday) and it can confuse, distort, i.e. complicate. Some would think Jesus is white, wears a tie and speaks KJV.
  • Wrong Doctrine - we tell people that they have to clean themselves up (or at least we give them that impression) before they can come to God. However, the reason we need the Gospel is because we cannot “clean ourselves up” without God!
  • Offensive Personalities - people who shovel the Gospel vs. live out the Gospel with gentleness and respect. How many have been turned off and confused about the Gospel because of such a personality?
  • ???
Note - I am not saying all these things are wrong but they can become tremendous hindrances to keeping the gospel simple. The world looks on and has a skewed sightline to the Gospel.

What is some other fall-out? The Gospel gets buried, becomes unattractive, Christians get preoccupied with preserving or guarding the wrong things, … ?

Vs. 5-9
What does Paul do? I love v.5 - He guards Titus and the truth of the Gospel. Paul is determined to keep it simple!
Not only does Paul come to the defence of Titus, but the pillars of the church do likewise, and not only for Titus but for everyone who will come to Christ in the years ahead. Note v.9 - they “high five” each other on the K.I.S.S principle.

Here are some takeaways you can discuss and add to.
  1. Be aware of your own tendency to clutter the Gospel. How can I keep it simple? How do I make it complicated? How can we (corporate) keep it simple? How do we (corporate) make it complicated?
  2. Be aware of the “Titus” in your life who may need you to clarify, simplify, and protect from the messy garage people.
  3. Be aware that when you talk to some people about faith issues, what they may be rejecting is not Christ but all the clutter- Try and discern that.
  4. Be aware of presenting a condescending spirit towards those that need the Gospel but may be very different than you are. The spirit of judgment could represent some of the clutter that hinders someone from seeing Jesus. Remember we all need the Gospel because we cannot “clean” up on our own.
  5. What might you add?
Remember to pray for Onzole, our international focus. We want them to embrace the purity of the Gospel.


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