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Reassuring Fellowship

Galatians 2:1-5
Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. (NIVUK)

Three years after his conversion, Paul met Peter ('Cephas' in Greek) and James in Jerusalem and talked with them over a fortnight (Galatians 1:18-19); then he continued his ministry to the Gentiles in (what is now) Syria, Turkey and Greece.  He was confident in the gospel he was preaching (Romans 1:16) but right from the beginning of his ministry he had constant opposition from people with a Jewish background (Acts 9:20-29).  They did not believe that people could be saved unless they earned God’s favour by keeping all the details of the Jewish Law, including doing good deeds and submitting to being circumcised.  

This constant pressure even affected Paul’s conscience.  Had he understood the gospel correctly?  He must have been praying this through because he said that the Lord prompted him to go back to Jerusalem to meet the church leaders privately - Peter, James [the half-brother of the Lord Jesus] and John (Galatians 2:9).  Paul took along with him, Barnabas, a Jewish background believer from Cyprus, and Titus who was an uncircumcised Gentile.  
In their discussions, Peter and the other leaders affirmed Paul’s understanding of the gospel and said that Titus did not need to be circumcised - because he had already been brought into the family of God when he believed the gospel which Paul preached!  That confirmed Paul’s ministry.  It strengthened him to preach against ‘salvation by works’ and emboldened him in preaching ‘salvation by faith in the grace of God through the grace-filled work of Christ' (Ephesians 2:6-9).
Although some are called to minister in hostile environments without much fellowship, there are times when God chooses godly people to affirm our ministry.  The Lord knows your heart, your desire to be true to the gospel, and knows the opposition you have been facing.  He knows how to rescue you from those who are hostile to the gospel, and to make you strong in the grace of Christ (2 Peter 2:9).  Do not isolate yourself from fellowship with other gospel believers and workers.  Let the Lord lead you to those whose heart is saturated by the truth of His Word. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”   The Lord knows your heart and will confirm His calling as you ask Him.

Sustaining Lord. Thank You for the ‘fellowship of the saints’, the shared gospel confidence of those who hold firmly to the apostle’s teaching. Forgive me when I allow myself to be discouraged by false teachers or beaten down by opposition. Please provide the fellowship I need and help me to be a spiritual support to others who are longing to see Your kingdom come. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams