Galatians 1:11-24

The Mission: Paul is writing to the churches of Galatia to make the good news clear and defend the good news from false teaching and instruct the Galatians in the gospel’s application to life.

How will Paul do this?

  1. Paul will defend the good news he preached to the Galatians as the actual good news from God through Jesus by the Holy Spirit. It is God’s good news not man’s good news.  
  1. The good news is the message of the Scriptures of the Old Testament. 
  1. The good news stands alone without any addition to it. The gospel is the judge of all world views and the lens by which we are to see and evaluate all things. 
  1. Paul is going to defend his role as a “sent one” of the Lord Jesus and spiritual father of the Galatians NOT as a model for church hierarchy but as an example of what every Christian is called to participate in as a church full of “untimely born”, “apostolic-sent”, “prophetic”, “evangelistic”, “shepherd”, “teacher” Christians (1 Corinthians 15:8). 
    1. If the 12 were set apart as super Christians, then we’d have a different church org structure on our hands. 
    2. Paul breaks that perception of “elite” Christian and destroys any sense of superstar hierarchy and releases the entire priesthood of repentant followers of Jesus to be glocal in ministry.
  1. Paul is going to demonstrate that the good news of Jesus’ kingdom works itself out in real-time application to life. 
    1. We are not Gnostics. Jesus was raised to real physical new creation life, therefore, the gospel will work itself out in real, tangible, practical, ways. 
    2. There is a difference between working to get salvation and working because you are a new creation sent to work out the new creation on earth as it is done in heaven. 

The apostle has preached, planted churches, established leadership and he has moved to the next task of taking the gospel to every corner of the world. (See Romans 15:19-20)

The apostolic work of pioneering and establishing is done in the Galatian region, and now Paul is off to the next pioneer task. 

With Paul’s training and establishing the oversight and leadership of elders, the work of church life begins in the churches of Galatia. 

Paul and the elders are going to have to grind hard now because viral false teaching has been introduced that is and will continue drawing disciples away from the gospel.

Big Idea of Galatians 1:11-24: The good news is God’s news, is bigger than a person’s religious training, and the gospel’s agents are all transformed disciples, not just a few supposed “elite”. 

READ 1:11-24

The good news is God’s divine story of reality. V. 11-12, 15-16 (NOTE: Galatians 3:8)

  1. Beth Moore wrote, and I agree, that we know the plan of salvation, but we don’t know the gospel. 
    1. To know some kind of mechanistic plan that we employ to yank God’s chain and get him to write us a “get out of hell free” card is not the good news. 
    2. The good news is the metanarrative of the Triune God in creation/fall/redemption/restoration and all the innumerable facets of that story revealed in the bible, like…
      1. Galatians 3:8 (ESV) And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

The good news and its transforming work are bigger than a person’s religious training. V. 13-16a

  1. “But”…in verse 15 highlights the contrast in Paul’s academic pursuit and the work of the gospel. 
  2. Verse 20 indicates Paul has been accused of being less than the “apostles” who lived with Jesus. 
    1. These “Judaizers” had demeaned Paul’s status as a “sent one” because he was not one of the original 12 and he was not demanding the law be kept for these Gentile Christians, so they attacked his credentials. 
    2. What Paul does is contrast his fairly impressive training to the call of Jesus, and we see that gospel stands on top of training and is far superior to it. 

The good news’ agents are transformed disciples, not a few supposed “elite”. V. 16b-24

  1. God may not always save people like he did Paul, but he does save people not according to their credentials but by his grace with no personal merit of our own.
    1. God saves regular Jills and Joes for his mission, not a few spiritually elite. 


The good news does not originate with man. And since the resurrection, people have wanted to commandeer the gospel as their means/instrument/tool for something else (use the gospel as a means to another end). 

  1. There is always going to be the need to contend for the gospel and its application to real-time challenges to its exclusivity. 
    1. For Paul and his day, it was circumcision and a keeping of the law in addition to faith in Jesus. 
    2. For the reformers, it was the Pope’s authority – plus church councils – plus the sacraments. 

NOTE: There is absolutely nothing wrong with the law and understanding its place. 

Matthew 5:19 (CSB) Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

There is nothing wrong with a robust church theology, biblical spiritual authority and organization, baptism, and Lord’s supper. 

The problem comes in how each of these “topics/issues” is understood from the lens of the cross of Jesus Christ and his kingdom and his justifying work for sinners as taught from God’s word as our “Manual” for faith and practice. 

  1. For us today, we are not struggling with circumcision. 
    1. What church is demanding circumcision, and who gets to do that “duty”?
      1. “I need a new duty.” – Nacho Libre 
    2. What church is demanding the adoption of Jewish customs? 
  2. In our tradition, we don’t have any ecclesiological authority problems or an overly robust theology of the church (likely not robust enough), and we are not leaning on the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper to save us. 
  1. I would argue that there is a multitude of “issues” that vie for the good news to become means to lesser ends rather than submitting to the good news and its glorious implications
  2. Paul addresses this in Romans 1:25 (CSB) “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.”
    1. Science. 
      1. As soon as someone says, “science”. We are all just supposed to sit down and be quiet. 
      2. BUT: What if “science” means a philosophy that presupposes some big things like, “there is no God” and “the universe is eternal”? 
        1. That’s not science, that is a philosophy with a science t-shirt on it.  
      3. That kind of philosophy posing as science can hijack Christians intellectually to help propagate its evangelistic worldview rather than submit to the authority of Jesus. 
    2. Human Systems 
    3. Seeing systems and working in the world as the sole vehicles to achieve our eschatological end rather than the gospel of the kingdom that saves and transforms Colossians 1:15-20 fashion.
      1. We don’t want to under realize our eschatology. 
      2. We don’t want to over realize our eschatology. 
      3. We want to get in the middle of creation, heal, and preach the kingdom of Jesus and figure it out as we get punched in the mouth. 
        1. Pluralism is not a new challenge for us. The church was born in the midst of a pluralistic world.  
  3. It’s not that we don’t use science when it is real science, and it’s not that we don’t seek systemic transformation and justice and righteousness in the earth because systems are broken and affect human beings due to the curse of sin. 
  4. Jesus has sent us into the world to heal and preach, and we do.  
    1. It’s when these begin to attempt to use Jesus and his kingdom as means to other ends that we must recognize a problem as the Galatians had. 
      1. Circumcision was not and is not evil, but when you add circumcision as equal to Jesus to carry Jesus to effect, then circumcision becomes an idolatrous enemy. 
    2. We want to judge all things by the gospel of the kingdom. 


As God called Paul to be a “sent one” apart from the twelve, God calls regular people like us to be his ambassadors on the earth. 

Corporate Prayer

Ezekiel 36:37-38 (ESV) Thus says the Lord GOD: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock. 38 Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

  1. Increase our people.
  2. Increase our holiness.
  3. Increase our sending.

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