(016)Thesis:Paul's "all the brethren together with me" thesis is a declaration of the reason the Galatians should give his letter serious consideration.
Introduction:As we move out of Galatians 1:1 and leave the heavy themes of "apostleship", "message", and "confirmation", we find ourselves immediately caught up in this question: why does it matter to Paul, or the Galatians, that Paul has some associates in his concern for the Galatian churches?
There is no such thing as "blow off" in the inspired Scriptures. Jesus posited a "jot and tittle" level of accuracy and value in those Scriptures. This has to mean that there is nothing in them that does not communicate a greater participation in blessing if it is properly understood and applied.
Therefore, this evening we are going to look into the issue of "associates" with Paul who are interested in the Galatians' well-being.
I. What the Issue of "Human Associates" Does Not Do.
A. It does not have any direct affect upon Paul's "truthfulness".
1. The issue of Paul's "truthfulness" is rooted in his "apostleship".
2. Paul deliberately divorced his "apostleship" from any and all "human associations".
3. Even if there was not a single "human associate" who agreed with him in the content of his message, his message would still be true if his apostleship is valid.
B. It does not bring any "weight" to Paul's "message".
1. "Truthfulness" is the "weight" of the message.
2. Having others "in agreement" does not do anything in terms of "weight".
a. We live in a fear-driven world where "what others think" becomes a frightful issue for those who have never understood "Love".
1) What others think brings fear to the hearts of those who are ego-driven.
2) What others think brings fear to the hearts of those whose security depends upon human beings.
b. The question that is often asked in this fear-driven world is: Can so many be wrong?
II. What the Issue of "Human Associations" Does Do.
A. It fundamentally inserts a corrective into the "Galatian Problem".
1. The essential nature of the "Galatian Problem" is the impact that lies make upon the relationship that exists between the "Father" and His children.
2. The "Galatian Problem", as a relational breakdown between Father and children, bleeds over into relational breakdowns between the children.
3. The mention of "brethren" automatically forces the issue of the "Father" into the foreground as a corrective.
a. The "Father" thesis is that of One Who rejects and frustrates all false agendas and methods usedagainstHischildren.
b. If there are "brethren" involved, the "Father" is just as involved.
c. The Gamalian principle of Acts 5:39 comes into play at this point.
B. It fundamentally inserts a corrective into the "Galatian Process".
1. It is not sufficient for people to have an inspired revelation from God.
a. Those who were arguing against Paul's Gospel of Grace in favor of "obedience" had, and used, "an inspired revelation from God".
b. Paul had and used the same "inspired revelation from God".
2. An "inspired revelation from God" only accomplishes its objectives when those who possess it properly understand it ("understanding" includes application).
3. Proper understanding requires a legitimate "Big Picture Orientation".
a. The "Big Picture Orientation" is fundamentally a description of the "setting" which gives words their proper meaning.
b. The insertion of "the together with me all brethren" concept is the insertion of the "Big Picture Orientation".
c. The major contribution of the phrase, "the together with me all brethren", is this: it establishes the fact that Paul fully inhabits a "relational universe" wherein what happens is only significant for the contribution it makes to the enhancement of the lives of those within that universe or for the attempted destruction of those lives.
1) There are two aspects of this created universe: mechanical and relational.
2) These aspects are not "equal": the mechanical aspect is a sub-set of the relational and has primarily to do with the physical realm of the body.
d. The corrective of Paul's phrase, "the together with me all brethren", addresses the Jewish perversion of the exaltation of the mechanical over the relational.
1) The perversion consists of the exaltation of "the rules" over "the people".
2) The corrective exalts "the people" over "the rules" so that whether a person can experience "Life" is the major question and "the rules" simply explain how.
3) The difference is revealed by the answer to this question: Who benefits?
4) At the root of the relational universe is the issue of "motive" where "another" is the recipient of the benefit and the root of the mechanical universe is the issue of "motive" where "I" am the recipient of the benefit.