Text: Galatians 5:1-6
I. In the beginnings of the church, Christians first came from the ranks of the Jews
A. The Jews had a hard time at first with the gospel being preached to Gentiles - Acts 11:1-3
B. As the gospel spread to the Gentiles, trouble arose as some Jewish Christians began to argue that the Gentile converts also needed to follow practices of the Old Law - Acts 15:1-2
C. The core of these dissidents appeared to come from the Pharisees - Acts 15:5
D. It does not appear to be an organized movement, but rather a widespread belief
E. We refer to them as Judaizers because they sought to make Gentiles a part of Judah. The word Judaizer or Judaizing appears in the Scriptures.
A. The church in Jerusalem, because of its location, was composed mostly from the Jews - Acts 21:20
1. Because of their background, they strongly upheld their traditions.
2. Even though they understood they were not binding on Gentiles - Acts 15:19-21
3. They themselves had a hard time letting go
B. Many still held to Jewish customs - Acts 21:18-26
1. Why did Paul go along?
2. Because what was asked wasn’t required, but also did not violate being a Christian - I Corinthians 9:19-20
C. For many Christians, the law was fading, but they had not yet let go - Hebrews 8:13
1. For many, until Jerusalem was destroyed and the Old Law could no longer be practiced, they continued to move reluctantly into the New Law.
D. Thus it is not surprising that men from Judea spread the message that customs from the Old Law must be upheld even among Gentiles.
1. When word came back to Jerusalem of what men from their church were teaching, it caused an extensive debate, but the church realized that what was being taught by these men was wrong.
2. They sent out a letter to Gentile churches distancing themselves from this teaching - Acts 15:23-29
E. Leaders in Jerusalem also supported Paul’s teaching among the Gentiles - Galatians 2:1-8
1. They saw no need for Paul to change anything that he taught.
2. They saw that the Lord had given Paul a mission among the Gentiles.
3. They extended fellowship to Paul - Galatians 2:9-10
III. In Asia Minor
A. As Paul taught, he considered the feelings of the Jews living abroad - Acts 16:1-3
1. But he also made sure they heard the message from Jerusalem - Acts 16:4-5
B. In Colosse we find that Judaizers had caused problems for the church - Colossians 2:4-8
1. The church was primarily made up of Christians from Gentile backgrounds - Colossians 2:11-15
2. Yet there were some saying it wasn’t enough - Colossians 2:16-23
3. The Old Law was just a shadow, people had no right binding it on them.
C. In Ephesus we find Paul giving Timothy warnings about people who gave emphasis to endless genealogies - I Timothy 1:3-4
D. It also was a problem on the island of Crete - Titus 1:13-14
E. In the region of Galatia, men came from Jerusalem and even persuaded Peter for a time - Galatians 2:11-21
1. Gentiles were not to live by the law
2. The law does not justify, it condemns in sin; so why would preachers such as Paul and Peter become servants of what binds people in sin?
3. By what the law taught, all have died to the law.
4. If salvation could come by the Law, then Jesus’ death was useless.
5. Paul calls the Galatians foolish for listening to such nonsense, thinking that circumcision could perfect them - Galatians 3:1-3
6. The law was to bring people to Christ - Galatians 3:19-25
7. Most of Galatians contains extensive arguments against Judaizing teachings, but clearest is in chapter 5 - Galatians 5:1-6
8. Salvation only comes through Christ. Moses could do nothing for the Galatians.
IV. In Greece
A. In Thessalonica, men were undermining Paul’s authority - I Thessalonians 2:1-12
1. We are not told who or why
2. But the need for defense is also seen in Corinth
B. In Corinth some charged that Paul wasn’t a true apostle - II Corinthians 3:1-6
1. The new covenant was more than the old - II Corinthians 3:7-18
2. Though not a great speaker, Paul wasn’t lacking in knowledge - II Corinthians 11:5-6
3. Paul then points out his “Jewish credentials” - II Corinthians 11:22-28
4. The Corinthians knew Paul. They should have been supporting him - II Corinthians 12:11-18
V. In Rome
A. Even as far away as Rome, the impact of the Judaizing teachers is seen as Paul taught the law was finished
B. The law had died - Romans 7:1-6
C. The Jews were zealous, but not according to knowledge - Romans 10:1-4
D. They should have known of the change - Romans 10:19-21
VI. Sadly, it continues to be revived.
A. We have people wanting to bind portions of the Old Law, such as the Ten Commandments (keeping the Sabbath Day in particular) or circumcision.
B. We have Messianic Jews claiming that they are required to live by both laws while Gentiles live only by the New Covenant.
C. Truly, there is nothing new - Ecclesiastes 1:10-11