SERMON OF THE WEEK: August 10, 2003

ďOLD BOYS AND NEW KIDSĒ

Galatians 2:7-10

By Pastor YAU

 

INTRODUCTION:

In practical life, the problem of OLD BOYS and NEW KIDS happens everywhere in our lives.Be it at a new job, in a new school, just moved to a new neighborhood or else, you always have someone, or ones, who have been there BEFORE you and they are the OLD BOYS and you are the new kid.The relationship or conflicts between the OLD and the NEW may sometimes hinder your potential and/or future.This kind of problem may even happen in the church of Jesus Christ.If we do not handle situation like this properly, it could jeopardize or even hinder the progress of Godís work.The passage we have today reflects a biblical way of handling this delicate situation.Several principles we may learn from the passage:

 

GOD CALLS BOTH THE OLD AND THE NEW. (2:7-8)

This is the first biblical principle we need to learn.Yes, God has called James, Peter and John, along with others, the original group of disciples to shoulder the founding of the early Christian church in Jerusalem.The growth of that church was phenomenal.Besides the blessing of the Holy Spirit, these leaders, reputed as pillars, had established their contribution in the founding of that church.In this early stage of church history, God called them to bring the gospel to the Jews, the people of the divine covenant God made with Abraham.

 

But God is much bigger than the Jews.He has in mind the need of salvation for all people, the non-Jews, the gentiles.For this purpose, God had also called Paul, Barnabas and many others to bring the gospel to His new flocks.The need of salvation of these gentiles is as important as that of the Jews.Though these new disciples were not the original group, not called by Jesus when He was on early, did not have the privilege of traveling with the Lord, yet, they had the same grace and commission from the Lord to do His work as those OLD BOYS.In His plans, God uses different people for different project with different purpose. They are all Godís servants and deserve equal respect.

 

PROPER RESPECT IS DUE TO EACH OTHER. (2:1-3, 9)

After 14 years of fruitful ministry in reaching the Gentiles and established many churches across the Roman Empire, Paul and Barnabas, the new kids, was inspired by the Spirit of the Lord to go up to Jerusalem, reporting to the church and the leaders, the old boys, what they had done among the Gentiles.Although it may not be a homage paid to the Superior, it is an act of respect from the NEW to the OLD.Paul and Barnabas never feel too proud to do so just because they had traveled so much, had led so many to the Lord and had started so many churches. It is proper for the new kids to recognize the position and contribution of the old boys in Godís church, as well as in any other place.

 

In v. 9, James, Peter and John, the old boys, extended to these new kids a right hand fellowship, a sign of recognition, acceptance and respect.Yes, they were the originals who had the privileges the new kids didnít have, but they were led by the Spirit to receive Paul and Barnabas as equals in Godís vineyard.This is very important in Godís work.If one has a special position because of seniority or special talent or any other means, it is Godís grace and should never be used as a credential or personal pride.Recognizing the call, the contribution and the value of those who came into His vineyard after you is what the Lord expects of all of us. (Refer to Matt. 20:1-16)The concluding words of the Lord: ďSo the first shall be the last, and the last shall be the first.Ē (v.16) was not about position, who is first or who is last.It is about equality.God treats all workers, the first and the last, all equal, all the same.

 

CONCLUSION:

One of the major problems of many churches is internal conflicts, strives, lack of mutual respect between different groups of people, the old and the new, the more educated and the less educated, the different language/cultural backgrounds, and many other divisive factors. The Bible calls us to respect one another, to recognize the value of each other, and to support one another.We are all servants, no matter how early or how late one enters His vineyard.Only the LORD is the Master.