Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Am I Now Your Enemy?

Today, we pick up our study in Galatians 4:16 where the Apostle Paul says, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” He had just questioned their salvation in the proceeding verse and most likely felt compelled to do so because of their apparent eagerness to place themselves back under the Law of Moses after they had been freed from it through faith in Christ. Now, in this verse, he assumes that he had angered some of them and says, “Am I your enemy because I’m telling you the truth?”

After eighteen years in ministry, I am still absolutely amazed how quickly people can turn on you when you confront them with the truth. Years of friendship can be dismissed over one little incident. It seems like the more you’ve done for them, the faster and angrier they turn (2 Corinthians 12:15). I’ve always said, “You can pat them on the back 99 times and correct them once and they’ll hate you forever.” How sadly true. What an arrogant society in which we live in which no one can humble themselves to accept correction. The Bible says in Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

It reminds me of that movie with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicklaus called a “Few Good Men”. In it, Cruise, as a young Navel officer, asks a seasoned old Marine played by Nicklaus for the truth. Nicklaus responds, “You can’t handle the truth!” Unfortunately, that is true for most people. One pastor friend told me once, “If you’re going to give them the truth, do it small doses.”

He goes on to say in v.17, “They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.” What he is trying to say is, “The legalists are making an impression on you but they don’t want you to make an impression on them. In other words, their arguments are one sided.

Then he says in v.18, “But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.” It’s not a bad thing to be “affected” by others, but just make sure that it is in something good and not what these guys (the legalists) are trying peddle off on you.

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