"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" Two Very Different Boasts (6:11-18) INTRODUCTION 1. In his epistle to the churches of Galatia, the apostle Paul... a. Defends his apostleship (chapters 1-2) b. Argues vigorously that justification is by faith in Christ (chapters 3-4) c. Exhorts Christians to use their liberty to sow to the Spirit instead of the flesh (chapters 5-6) 2. As he concludes his epistle, Paul intermingles personal remarks with final admonitions... a. We note his reference to the size of his letters - Ga 6:11 1) Which some take to refer to his actual handwriting 2) While others think it refers the length of the epistle b. But of particular interest to me is the contrast that Paul makes - Ga 6:11-16 1) A contrast between others and himself 2) A contrast in what they took pride [There is something to glean from these "Two Very Different Boasts", perhaps words of caution for us to consider. We note first that there was...] I. BOASTING IN A SHOW OF THE FLESH A. THIS WAS THE BOAST OF SOME... 1. Such was the case of those who sought to compel circumcision 2. Their motive was twofold - Ga 6:12-13 a. To avoid persecution for the cross of Christ b. To boast in the flesh of the Gentiles 3. They were inconsistent - Ga 6:13 a. Those who stressed circumcision did not keep the whole Law b. As mentioned earlier in the epistle - Ga 2:11-14 -- They focused on externals, for the purpose of show B. DO WE BOAST IN A SHOW OF THE FLESH...? 1. By being overly concerned of what others see and think? 2. With a similar twofold motive? a. To avoid ridicule in our service for Christ? b. To take pride in what impresses others? 3. How might we boast in a show of the flesh today? - cf. Mt 23: 5-11 a. Through religious clothing (or costly clothing - cf. 1Ti 2: 9-10; 1Pe 3:3-5) b. Through religious titles, or any title intended to impress others c. Through building overly expensive, elaborate churches d. Through an emphasis on numbers (attendance, conversions) e. Through showcasing celebrities in evangelistic efforts -- Might we be guilty of boasting in a show of the flesh, for the sake of popularity? [In contrast to boasting in a show of the flesh, we note that Paul writes about...] II. BOASTING IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST A. THIS WAS THE BOAST OF PAUL... 1. In the crucified Messiah - Ga 6:14 a. To some, the message of the cross was foolishness - 1Co 1:23 b. Paul made it the focus of his ministry - 1Co 2:2 c. He was not ashamed of the gospel - Ro 1:16-17 2. In having himself been crucified with Christ - Ga 6:14b a. In Christ he had been crucified to the world b. Of which he wrote about earlier in this epistle - Ga 2:20a c. In which he now lived a life of faith in Jesus - Ga 2:20b 3. Changing his priorities in life - Ga 6:15-18 a. Circumcision, once important to him, had become irrelevant - cf. Ga 1:11-17 b. The new creation in Christ was what now mattered - cf. 2 Co 5:17;
Ep 4:20-24 c. Blessing those with the same priorities (asking for understanding from them who had troubled him) - Ga 6:16-18 -- Paul's boast was in the transforming power of Jesus Christ B. DO WE BOAST IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST...? 1. Some prefer to boast in other things, which they should not - cf. Jer 9:23 a. Such as their wisdom - cf. 1Co 1:19-21; 3:19-20 b. Such as their own strength - cf. Ps 33:16-19 c. Such as their own wealth - cf. Ps 49:6-9; Lk 12:15-21 2. Our boast should be in Christ and God a. Certainly not in men - cf. 1Co 3:21-23 b. But in coming to know God as He really is - cf. Jer 9:24 c. And in what Christ does for us - cf. 1Co 1:26-31 3. Prompting us to change our priorities in life a. Seeking first the kingdom of God - Mt 6:33 b. Seeking to glorify God with all our hearts, for having saved us - cf. Ps 86:12-13 c. Seeking to glorify God with our bodies and spirits - 1Co 6: 19-20 d. Seeking to glorify God with good works - Mt 5:16; 1Pe 2: 11-12 e. Seeking to glorify God when we suffer for Christ - 1Pe 4:16 -- We boast in Christ, by being what He created us for in Christ - cf. Ep 2:8-10 CONCLUSION 1. In what do we boast today...? a. Might we fall into the trap of boasting in a show of the flesh? b. Should we not rather boast in the cross of Christ? 2. Paul's final words include a plea and a prayer... a. A plea to no longer be troubled, perhaps by those who questioned his apostleship - Ga 6:17 b. A prayer bestowing grace, for those who read this epistle - Ga 6:18 Paul's plea was answered a long time ago, when he passed from this life to be with his Lord. His prayer will be answered for all those willing to give careful heed to things written in this epistle. Will the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with our spirits today? Only if we stand fast in the liberty in which Christ has made us free (Ga 5:1), and sow to the Spirit instead of the flesh (Ga 6:8)...!