Final Warnings (Galatians 6:11-18)
Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, May 19, 2019
We will be turning to Galatians 6:11-18 in a few minutes. Please turn their in your Bibles, tablets or smart phones.
Let me show this video as we begin.
Free to serve video:
We are wrapping up Galatians today and as we do so we will see the summary of Paul’s themes. Galatians is about Jesus. Galatians is about how we are saved by Jesus and Jesus alone. We are saved by faith in Jesus.
Today, my theme is: Paul’s final warnings
Application: boast in Jesus
Let’s read: Gal. 6:11-18:
11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
- Submit to Christ, boast in Him (verses 11-16).
- As we look at verses 11-16 that is theme that we see. We must surrender to Christ and we must only boast in Him. Only boast in Jesus.
- First, we see Paul’s signature in verse 11. This is Paul’s John Hancock
- The New American Commentary shares: It was a common convention of Hellenistic letter writing that a secretary or amanuensis would prepare the main body of the letter while the sender would append his signature and perhaps a few closing words of benediction as a way of attesting the contents of the letter and assuring the reader of his full endorsement. We follow much the same practice today when an attorney or legal secretary draws up an official document that requires the signature of a client for validation.
- We gather from other comments in Paul’s letters that it was customary for him to dictate his letters orally to an amanuensis and then add a personal postscript and signature in his own hand at the end of the epistle (cf. 1 Cor 16:21; 2 Cor 10:1; 2 Thess 3:17; Col 4:18). Thus most commentators believe that 6:11 is the place in Galatians where Paul took the stylus from the hand of his secretary and finished off the letter in his own handwriting using, for some reason, unusually large letters to which he drew attention in this verse.153,
- I imagine Paul dictating this letter, maybe over several sessions and then giving his signature right here.
- This is VERY important.
- We know that people would write in someone else’s name. We also know there was pseudepigrapha literature in that day and age (see 2 Thess 3:18 for an example).
- We see false motives in verses 12-13, the legalizers boasts in circumcision.
- It seems that verse 12 shows people are being persecuted for the Gospel. It seems that the Jewish people are persecuting Christians for the message of grace.
- The IVP Bible Backgrounds Commentary shares: The metaphor here is grotesque: Paul has been assailing those who live “by the flesh,” by merely human, mortal power, ignoring God; physical circumcision was commonly said to be “in the flesh” (so also KJV, NASB, NRSV here). Here Paul speaks of these culture-bound missionaries as if they want to take the Galatians’ foreskins back to their senders. See comment on 4:29 and 5:11.
- We come to verses 14-16 and we see the theme only Jesus (verses 14-16), boast in Jesus.
- In verse 14 we see that Paul will only boast in Jesus. He will only boast in the cross. Paul had made similar statements in 1 Cor. 1:26-31 and 2:2.
- What matters is that you are a new creation (verse 15). Paul wrote about this in 2 Cor. 5:17. We are made new in Christ.
- John Winthrop wrote: O Lord, crucifie the world unto me, that though I cannot avoyd to live among the baites and snares of it, yet it may be so truely dead unto me and I unto it.
- Verse 16 is a blessing.
- Those who walk as new creation will have
- Peace: isn’t this nice? How nice it is to have peace? Remember the fruit of the Spirit in Gal. 5:22-23. What is it like to have peace? We have peace in Christ because we are not trying to earn our salvation.
- Mercy: we receive mercy in Christ because we do not experience the wrath of God.
- Also, the Israel of God.
- This is likely Jewish believers though he could be referring to the Gentile Christians.
- Some would say he is talking about all believers, but it seems as though he is referring to Jewish Christians.
- Final warning and benediction (verses 17-18)
- This seems to be a solemn warning.
- Paul talked about his scars. 2 Cor. 4:10 and 11:23 are examples of his beatings.
- I like what MacArthur points out: slaves were branded, military were branded, he is saying he is branded for Jesus. He is saying not to question him.
- Then verse 18 is a wonderful close.
- Paul affirms them in a loving benediction. He calls them “brothers,” or “brothers and sisters.”
- Paul extends grace.
- We must be bold following Jesus even if it means persecution (verse 12).
- We cannot compromise the faith in order to avoid persecution (verse 12).
- We must only boast in Jesus and the cross (verse 14).
- We must be crucified to the world in living for Jesus (verse 14).
- We must understand what matters is that we are new in Christ (verse 15).
- We must be loving to people as Paul was in his final verse (verse 18).
The Comedian Louis CK has a routine in which he jokes about having the impulse to give up his first class airline seat to a soldier. Louis CK says,
[Service men and women] always fly coach. I’ve never seen a soldier in first class in my life … And every time that I see a soldier on a plane I always think, You know what? I should give him my seat. It would be the right thing to do, it would be easy to do, and it would mean a lot to him… I never have, let me make that clear. I’ve never done it once … And here’s the worst part: I was actually proud of myself for having thought of this. I am such a sweet man. That is so nice of me, to think of doing that and then totally never do it.
In June of 2014 Oscar nominated actress Amy Adams actually acted on that thought. Boarding a flight Friday from Detroit to Los Angeles where she was shooting a new movie, Adams noticed an American soldier being seated in coach. She decided to do something that she’s always just thought about doing. Jemele Hill, a reporter for ESPN and a fellow first class passenger, witnessed Adams quietly asking the airline crew permission to switch seats with the soldier, whom she didn’t know. Adams moved back to coach, and the surprised soldier, who didn’t know who his benefactor was, moved up to first class. Hill immediately got the word out on Twitter, and after their arrival in L.A. Adams told reporters, “I didn’t do it for attention for myself. I did it for attention for the troops.”
That is how we should be. We must give up our seat to Jesus. We must give Him the spotlight.
When divers combed the wreckage of the Kursk (the destroyed Russian nuclear submarine on which 118 sailors perished), they found a letter written by Lt. Dmitri Kolesnikov. The handwritten note was addressed to his wife, Olga. It was penned after the explosion that sealed the sub’s doom on August 12, 2000, in the Barents Sea and confirmed speculation that all the crew had not died instantly.
A few hours after the submarine plunged to the bottom of the sea, Kolesnikov wrote, “All the crew from the sixth, seventh, and eighth compartments went over to the ninth. There are 23 people here. . . . None of us can get to the surface.”
The note included a deeply personal expression of affection to his beloved Olga, who admitted that her husband had a premonition of death when he bade her goodbye before sailing out to the Barents Sea. Eerily, the last lines of the letter indicated that death was closing in. The auxiliary power had failed. Kolesnikov wrote unevenly in the pitch darkness: “I am writing blind.”
What a terrible sense of approaching doom.
This sailor’s despair and foreboding isn’t all that different from what many people feel about this world.
The apostle Paul, blind and knowing that a martyr’s death was near, also wrote goodbye letters. His letters, though, were filled with hope in Christ.
153 See Longenecker, Galatians, lix–lxi; Fung, Galatians, 300–302; W. P. Doty, Letters in Primitive Christianity, 40–41. Despite the strong internal evidence for Paul’s use of an amanuensis, we should not imagine that these helpers were given such great freedom and leeway as actually to compose the materials found in the Pauline Epistles. It is much more likely that he dictated to a secretary word by word. His signature at the end was his “apostolic seal” verifying that the foregoing content was precisely what he had intended to convey to his readers. For two different assessments of this feature of Paul’s epistolary practice, see G. H. Bahr, “The Subscriptions in the Pauline Letters,” JBL 87 (1968): 27–41, and R. N. Longenecker, “Ancient Amanuenses and the Pauline Epistles,” in New Dimensions in New Testament Study, ed. R. N. Longenecker and M. C. Tenney (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974), 281–97.
 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ga 6:12–13.
 John Winthrop. “The American Puritans,” Christian History, no. 41.
 Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois; adapted from (Chicago suburban) Daily Herald (10-27-00)