Temple Baptist Church - 4-8-2009
A. In this portion of scripture, we find that there was a problem in the area of respect of persons. In the first century AD, polarized conditions governed society. People were either rich or poor, slaves or free, Jew or Gentile, Greek or barbarian.
1. Paul used the phrase “who seemed to be somewhat” when referring to them of “reputation” in verse 2.
a) By reputation I believe that the reference was to the Apostles mentioned in chapter 1:16-19.
b) Their having a “reputation” was not necessarily wrong in itself as they were the visible leaders of the Jerusalem believers.
c) Paul went to them privately, reporting what God had given to him in both revelation and ministry.
d) Paul reported to the Galatian believers that these Apostles “added nothing to me.”
2. In verses 12-14, Paul relates a real problem concerning “respect of persons” in his confrontation of Peter.
a) Peter ate with these gentile believers in verse 12 prior to the arrival of other Jewish believers.
b) When the Jewish believers arrived, Peter “withdrew and separated himself” from them.
B. Peter’s actions caused a two-fold problem.
1. His actions were a personal affront to the believers at Antioch. They certainly knew what he did.
2. The other Jews followed Peter’s bad example also. Respect of persons brings about negative peer pressure.
3. Barnabas (a champion of the down and outers who took in the Apostle Paul) was then affected by the dissimulation and withdrew also.
C. Paul then withstood Peter “to the face” in verse 11 because he was to be blamed. He was the most noted of the Jewish believers that came to Antoich.
1. The rebuke was public because the sin was public. Vs. 11
2. The rebuke was stern because it was detrimental to the truth delivered.
Acts 10:34-36 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
D. Respect of persons has continued to be a problem throughout the church age. Respect of persons does not mean that you have to invite the entire church to your cookout. I want to look at just three areas that have affected our churches and their growth.
1. Respect of persons because of race.
a. This affects our evangelism! The Jews hated the Samaritans and the Samaritans hated the Jews. Most nations were natural enemies and it was and still is hard to get them to sit down together.
b. Race differences have always been a problem, especially here in the south. We love to sing the children’s songs which say, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight; Jesus loves the little children of the world” while ostracizing people based on race.
c. God made people the way He wanted them to be. There is not a problem with recognizing race. The problem is with “respecting” race. Respect of persons is to place one race above another or to exclude someone of another race.
d. God made all; God loves all; God is willing to save all!
1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2. Respect of persons because of social status.
a. This affects our unity! The socially elite have a problem with the “baser” sort and the opposite is also true. I do not get invited to their cookouts and they do not get invited to mine!
b. From this aspect of respect of persons, cliques are formed. It is not that we cannot invite everyone, it is that not everyone is wanted.
Psalms 133:1-3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
3. Respect of persons because of money.
a. This affects our motive! This form of selective evangelism places monetary value over the value of a soul. The rich and poor normally do not meet in the same churches! Organized visitation occurs in select communities instead of in every community.
b. Many times the rich are welcomed into churches with a “red carpet” treatment while the poor are either looked down upon or ignored. Every visitor should be treated with kindness and respect! It matters not how they are able to dress or the amount that they may be able to give.
James 2:1-7 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
c. This kind of respect of persons often clouds the judgment of the leadership. The rich can get away with “murder” while the poor are quickly chastised for the same sins.
Deuteronomy 1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
Deuteronomy 16:19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.