Bible Tips And Tidbits:
Savoring God’s Word One Bite At A Time.
Who’s More Important?
We put great stock in the appearance of importance. Who is the biggest or tallest, finest, or greatest? The trappings of success become the symbols of power. The church, sadly, succumbs to the world’s measures of importance. Our credentials and endorsements advertise our authority. Who we know and who we follow opens doors in ministry, so we name drop strategically for maximum effect. A hierarchy of reputation rests on the outward appearances of importance, like the size of our church, the success of our ministry, or our circles of fellowship.
Religious Pacifiers
Many today offer religious pacifiers instead of the true gospel. Some sell a watered-down gospel of cheap grace and easy believism to attract crowds. Others peddle moralism or ritualism to give people a false sense of security because they can keep selective rules or practice special rituals. Religious pacifiers appease people by offering them something they can do to be right with God. But when we preach to please people, we distort the gospel and displease Christ.
A Rabid Devotion
There is a zeal for God and country that ravages all compromisers – a devotion that becomes destructive, a patriotism that breeds fanaticism. Paul possessed a rabid loyalty to Judaism that drove him to zealously protect the traditions handed down from his forefathers (Gal. 1:13-14). His misplaced zeal justified his persecution of Christians as enemies of the Most Holy God and corruptors of his national traditions. There are few emotions more unholy than a holy zeal gone rabid. 
The Pressure to Compromise
Compromise is subtle. Like black sheep in a flock, we accept false teachers as brothers and sisters in the church while their influence slowly grows more powerful. We work and feed side by side until truth forces a choice. Paul and Barnabas in Galatians 2 forced a choice.  There are three parties to this fight (Burton, Galatians, 77). First, Paul and Barnabas stood firm that the gospel of liberty must be kept free from legalism. Second, the apostles of the church – Paul calls them the “pillars” of the church (2:9) – sought to keep the peace among the people. 
Falsely Accused?
Have you ever been falsely accused? Someone has impugned your integrity or questioned your veracity? Perhaps others have circulated stories about you that painted a negative picture. Guilt by association or statements taken out of context were used to undermine your credibility. The stories went viral through social media. Your ministry is threatened because people wonder if you can be trusted to tell the truth. How should you respond? Should you defend yourself? 
Our Missional Purpose
God saves us to send us. Every Christian serves Christ’s mission from the moment of conversion to the last breath of life. We must not live aimlessly but purposefully. Paul illustrates the urgency of this mission in Galatians when he tells us that God revealed Christ to him “so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles” (Gal. 1:16). The purpose of saving was sending! Paul did not go up to Jerusalem to be credentialed by the apostles but went straight to Arabia before returning to Damascus (Gal. 1:17). 
Win/Lose Church Fights
Not all church conflicts should seek win/win results. Some church fights must be win/lose! You are either on the right side or the wrong side, but there is no middle ground. The issue carves a dividing path like a glacier between truth and error, life, and death. The “Great Circumcision Debate” was one of those issues in the early church. Paul has been addressing this debate in the autobiography of his battle for the gospel (Galatians 1-2). The early church was dividing over the issue of circumcision, but Paul did not seek a win/win solution where both sides could save face. 
Battling for the Gospel
We downplay theological disputes today. “Just give them Jesus” or “doctrine divides” are slogans of the modern church. Perhaps these are helpful cautions when it comes to peripheral matters of the faith over which we have too often divided but not the gospel. There can be no compromise over the gospel. Battling with others about the gospel gets messy, even ugly sometimes, as we see in Galatians 2, but we must be willing to divide if the gospel is being corrupted. A “Jesus Lite” gospel is no gospel at all. Click to read more…
Our Fear of Failure
We fear failure. No one wants to work without results, to serve to no end. We set goals, but we face many goal blockers in ministry, which can lead to the fear of failure. Paul, too, feared working in vain (κενός – Phil. 2:16; 1 Thess. 3:5; Gal. 2:2) or for nothing (εἰκῇ – Gal. 4:11). But what does failure look like? Do we measure failure by declining attendance as people go to other churches? Failure for Paul was not that someone would attend another gospel-preaching church but that the two churches would not be united by the true gospel. Click to read more…