It is such a precious gift to us, such a blessing, and we ask that as we look at it, we’ll see it through fresh eyes that your spirit will speak to the fresh. And I will walk out with something that you’ve said to us, which can enrich our lives, allow us to live a life which really pleases you, so come Holy Spirit, be a teacher. We pray in Jesus name. Eman. So we did. Don’t completely shut that.
So we did the introductory work last week in Galatians, and tonight we turn to one of the really interesting passages in the New Testament when it comes to and I’ve called outworking the desire to please God because we look into the inner life and experience of Paul in his early days before he began his ministry. We listen to this period that he’ll talk to us about himself before his conversion to Christ. And you can get a little bit of this in Philippians when Philippians three, where Paul, in a tiny summary form, kind of assesses his pre-Christian time.
But this is this is a very interesting spiritual journey. And I, I wanted to observe before we start tonight that I’ve certainly heard me talk about the three W’s, the word of God, the will of God and the ways of God, and that we all believe from the inspiration of scripture in terms of the word of God, its role in our life, we prayerfully seek to know the will of God. But there is this concept of the ways of God, which is to look at how God acts in the outworking of his plan and purpose.
And there are clearly patterns which can be discerned as you as you look at the scriptures and you look at key individuals in the scriptures, whether it’s Paul, Moses, David, whatever, you see what I believe are recurring patterns in there. And often if you then take a biography of someone who God is significantly used, may be a missionary or a significant Christian leader, and you read the story, you frequently find the same patterns at work. And the effect of this is to suggest that in the ways of God, there are things which we can learn by studying a person’s life and how God has worked in their life and look about what might go on in their own life now, not because we are called to be an apostle or not be called be a king, but look for these repeating kinds of patterns.
One of the one of the observable patterns and things in God’s ways is it’s often surprising who he chooses. And he he may choose a baby, John the Baptist, from the spirit, from while in the womb. Many of the choices is at that point, he may choose the youngest rather than the oldest in a family, as in the case of King David, he he may choose someone whose life was seemingly under threat and is miraculously rescued like Moses and who grows up in probably the most unsuitable environment and in many ways is in the courts of Pharaoh.
And if you know anything of what life was like in the court of Pharaoh, you want to get if you really want to have a good old backslide, to live in the court of pharaohs, quite a good environment in which to do it. And yet we rated that alongside of his developing the mother. And the Jewish influence was subtly there as we as well as in the case of, say, the Book of Ruth, you get this similar something unusual.
Well, I have to say, Paul fits this kind of pattern. If you think of the person God would choose to to use as in least in a literary sense, the significance of all the apostles. Here’s someone who is hell bent on destroying the church. You know, you’d think he’s the last one that he would use and yet he does. So tonight, as we look at the kind of what I’ve called the working of the desire to please God.
And we look at poll sharing his experience. He’s there for a reason. He tries we can look in and just observe the pattern. He’s doing it because he’s wanting to validate his gospel, as we saw last week. You know, he’s wanting us to understand where the gospel he preached came from, that it was from God. And and so he’s kind of got one agenda in sharing it, which is validation. But at the same time, we get this wonderful insight into what was going on in his life.
So so if we started verse 11, which is where we got to last last week. And I’m kind of reading from a free trend, I’ve got the NIV in front of me, so if I say something unusual, you can ask it. But I’m actually reading from a fresh translation of mine, which is pretty close. So there we go. So the first few verses, it’s three 14. I’ve in my notes to you, I’ve said Zeland ignorance is not the way to go and people understand that.
So let’s see what he says. He says, I want you to know, brothers, the gospel, which was gospel by me, was preached by me, is not according to me, and neither did I receive it from me. And nor was I taught. But through the revelation of Jesus Christ for you heard my former manner of life in Judaism went to an extraordinary degree. I pursued and persecuted the Church of God and destroyed and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries of my people, possessing a much greater zeal of awe for the tradition of my fathers.
So what’s he tell us to begin with? He tells us that he wants us to realize that the gospel which he preached to them, is not according to man. Now we again, let’s just set the context from last week briefly. It’s interesting that the Greek he said the gospel is the word if you angle from you meaning good angle, meaning message in the Greek for which you get your angle, you and Gallion is the gospel evangelism overcomes this.
And then he said, which I preached. But he doesn’t using Caruso he goes, which I unrealism I’d and in other words, that he’s deliberately as poor will often do play with words. He wanted to, he wanted to say basically I want, you know, the gospel, which are gospel, which I preach to you, is not according to man. And what is it, first Corinthians 15, one to two. Is roughly one to process rather than the gospel, which I preach to you, which you received, which you also stand, but which you also saved, if you hold fast to the words which I preach to you, unless you believed in vain.
And then in the next three verses. So that’s I passed on what I received. And it’s nice and simple for I received and this is the word for tradition. I passed on to you and again paused playing words with us because the word for receiving the word passed on is the same one. Zanon What one’s verb is the first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures, and then he appeared as nice and simple as that.
It involves the death of Christ for our sins, according to prophecy includes his resurrection, because the resurrection is through his death, that we have the forgiveness of sins. It’s by his resurrection that we have the hope of eternal life and of course, those who are witnesses of it. And that’s really nice and simple. What is the gospel that he died for? Our sins according to the Scriptures and in the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose, according it plan, Jesus is the fulfillment of the plan.
The plan is for our forgiveness that he was raised from the dead because that’s the one thing to know forgiveness, because that might lead to a blessing in this life. But because of his resurrection, we hope of eternal love to come apostles. And we discussed this last week. I didn’t receive it from man and it was wasn’t passed on to be. My man knows. I thought it was not the result of study, but through the revelation of Christ.
Now, these are great claims saying I didn’t wasn’t told to me. I didn’t develop it by research. It’s the basis of this revelation. What does Paul basis he bases it on his conversion experience. That’s the heart of it. He’s not talking about some dream he’s had, he’s not talking about he is talking about a personal encounter with the resurrected Jesus. And in just a minute, we’ll get him to give us the testimony, but. Ignorants.
I think because I said Zeland ignorance is not the way to go, you know, you can be ignorant and yet be learned. You know, you can be ignorant and have phenomenal knowledge, you can be ignorant and have studied for years, you can be ignorant and be full of the traditions of men and spiritual things. It’s not it’s not study. It’s not knowledge, which is the key to the knowledge of God to knowledge of God is an encounter with God through encountering Christ.
And. If we want to please God, that we have my desire to please God has to start with my relationship with Christ, my encounter with Christ, the difficulty is if you try and kind of build an understanding of who God is and what God may want purely through studying the Bible, purely through studying theology, you come into classes like this and whatever, thinking that I can. It’s like a hate kind of thing. The foundation of it has to be your first encounter with Christ when you hear the gospel and you believe Paul says in First Corinthians to Jesus, you know, there’s no other foundation upon which you
can build except the relationship of Christ.
And then he talks about those who would build on that foundation, which are the teachers and whether it’s a policy or whether it’s key facts and so on. And so the foundation is there and Paul is wanting us to understand that the foundation of his gospel. Is his own personal experience. We’re going to understand more and more of what that is, because for Paul, previously his whole nature of his God was more based workspace and he’s proposed. It’s going to be faith based and grace based.
And ask yourself the question, how did pole shift from Lord of Grace, from works to faith and what was the catalyst which moved him from one to the other? And the answer is the nature of his conversion. The process for a while was, well, we at sentence across that process, you know, I’m heading off to arrest the Christians and put them in a jail and some of them being stoned. Well, Stephen is testifying and Paul standing beside it, beside the situation is concerning to the whole thing.
Despite all that God’s grace, how did how did he understand the gospel of grace and embrace and receive it? He received it in the way Christ responded to him, or rather better, because as what Paul does, he says, look, I laid whole of Christ and this is waps, rather. He laid hold of me that the very revelation was in the way God and his love presented himself to Paul in Christ. That’s the revelation. It’s not a revelation which comes from some men walking and talking to you.
You know, it wasn’t a revelation from his study of the scriptures. It was a revelation of his own encounter with Christ. So he says, you heard of my former manner of life when in Judaism went to an extraordinary degree, I pursued and persecuted the Church of God and destroyed it. And this is Paul starting point when it comes to his testimony about being a Christian and the preaching the gospel from a human and the traditional point of view, he was an avowed zealot.
No man was going to convince him about the gospel. Now, conversation, could you imagine trying to have a theological debate with Paul and convince him that he was wrong? The utter futility of just the sheer intellect of the man apart from the US, you didn’t stand a chance. No man was going to convince him. No teacher could teach in the GUSTL because before he got a chance to say anything, people would try him in prison. This is probably a very good description of someone one might call unteachable.
He goes on, he says, I was advancing in Judaism about many of my contemporaries among my people. And this is why I’m saying it’s zeal and ignorance is not the way to go positive for the traditions of his people was extraordinary even when compared with other Jews and man Jews can be fanatical. But he was the thing that he was that Osama bin Laden of his time.
There was a fire burning in Poland. Incredible zeal for God, but it was misdirected. Romans 10 verse to Paul says, I bear witness that’s the Jews, that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.
That’s the tragedy. You know, it’s so easy to confuse zeal with godliness. Today, there are many people who claim to be disciples of Jesus and are certainly tremendously zealous, know the Mormons have a zeal for evangelism which put most of us to shame. Some have a zeal for in time prophecy for the Lord’s return, now build stadiums down in the beach believing he’s coming on a 13th of October or whatever it might be, the zero, but they just saved in their zeal.
A person’s zeal in itself is not a measure of godliness. In fact, Paul says they may even conform to a pattern of godliness, and it was outwardly there may be all the outward trappings of an incredible zeal and yet may be found to be opposing the will of God. In the study, we’ve just finished, first and second, Timothy and Titus. In Timothy three, verse five, he talks about those who hold the form of godliness, although they’ve denied it’s power.
Just one last statement, Paul says he just goes on and he says, possessing a much greater zeal of the traditions of my fathers. This is one incredibly zealous person. Paul was a person who became fanatical in the keeping of religious traditions. Now, I would I wouldn’t want to say that I believe that
what I would call a religious spirit took hold of him and he was actually driven by the religious spirit. There’s a difference between someone who is laid hold of by the gospel and is really committed the proclamation of the gospel and someone who has a religious spirit.
You can be you can be zealous for truth, zealous for God, and yet be able to accept that there’s someone who disagrees with you without wanting to kill them. You know, I firmly believe that they’re wrong. You don’t want to kill them. But religious spirits manifest in physical aggression, that’s the nature of religious spirits, whether it’s Jewish religious spirits and the attempt to kill the church, whether it’s in the whether it’s the religious spirits within Christianity at the time of the Crusades or the Inquisition or whether the Reformation.
Unfortunately, you can find it in preprint Catholicism and Protestantism and you can see it in Islam in terms of clearly, there are some Muslims who are absolutely horrified of what’s being done in the name of Islam. But the thing which overtakes them, as I’ve said, is a spirit. I believe heresy is not an error. It’s a spirit. But if it’s the way in which a wrong idea is being promoted, it’s not the idea itself when we’re trying to unpack that a little bit.
I don’t believe that any of us can probably say, well, can say that everything we believe is absolutely 100 percent correct. We may believe it’s correct. If we didn’t think it was correct, we wouldn’t believe it. And I would certainly want to say that everything I teach and hold on my books and tapes and one is 100 percent correct. But, you know, I’ve got an inkling based on experience that it’s just possible that some of the things I teach I’m not saying the gospel and what I’m talking about, man, is essential, but that’s of the central things that some of the things I teach may not be right, but that doesn’t make me a heretic.
Policies in First Corinthians 12. Know, we now impart in prophesy in part and only when Christ comes back. We actually understand have perfect knowledge and lots of issues. So I’m content with that. I would say to devote myself to the scriptures and study the scriptures that I might be sound and everything I teach and whatever. But I’m also content to accept the fact that not everything I, I don’t have a 100 percent Holon truth. And there are others who can probably correct me and bring me no understanding that the spirit, the zealous spirit, the spirit which Paul had to deal with was such a conviction that what they believe was absolutely true, that they were willing to kill everyone who who opposed it, that zealotry.
And as I say, it’s heretical, it’s a heresy, but it needs to be understood as a spirit and it needs to be understood for what it is, because it presents itself in religious zeal. It presents itself in sincerity. You know, at times you can look at someone and you can admire them for the zeal that they’ve got. But what’s driving them is not just an Arab, but a spirit. And you know what they what they need to come out of it is is really deliverance of one form.
When Paul describes himself as being delivered from a king of darkness and brought into the kingdom of his beloved son. This is not just Paul talking about words. This is talking about him through the revelation of Christ being born, being brought out of profound deception and all the aggression which went from it into, you know, profound commitment to the gospel, but in a completely different way. There’s no evidence that Paul kind of wanted to lock up anyone. He, in fact, was quite content to go in and out of jail himself.
But it’s a spirit now in the outworking of the desire to please God. We start with Paul, where he started from. Which was this unhealthy zeal, that’s where we started. And I think many Christians do polls not a Christian at the time, but this fine line, particularly for young people when they come to Christ where everything is absolutely black and white, communist army recruit, 15, 16, 17 year olds. And I understand trying to recruit someone in their mid 30s into the party.
They get them when they’re black, when it’s just that the zeal of youth in the fanaticism of some. And that’s not Paul rejects this because it’s not you know, he knows we’re talking. And he found himself opposing the will of God. So it’s kind of a negative to deal with, but that’s his that’s the starting point. So I just paused in case any of you want to have a drink and I can eat. And if there’s a cap or anything
around, we might not sure if there is a rescue.
My faithful not happening now yet in your opening statement, you were saying that no one sometimes to look at we had an important thing in the life of all of us, the correct way of Judaism and the law. I mean, think it made me realize that the strength of the person, the strength, whatever they believe is correct and what use that strength. It’s been around for years. For the sake of the time it’s in, the question relates to the ways of God and whether there is this pattern of God choosing people who by nature and temperament are kind of passionate and then using that passion in the right for our causes.
It’s hard, you know, I’m not one would have descended as. Particular pattern, but I would say that they are frequently the individualistic. And they seem to be able to be out there on their own and be willing to stand alone and apart and be different. Whether it’s strength or passion, I’m not sure, but certainly they’re not afraid to be different. That’s that seems to be you know, I often wonder about King David God greatly users.
And, you know, we focus on his military conquests and Goliath and all that sort of thing. But he’s he’s clearly effeminate at the same time. You know, he’s he has the love of music and poetry. And he’s in that sense, this is a person he’s he obviously didn’t impress his older brothers. And there’s there is this pattern, I think I think sometimes is there’s something in the person where God sees their ability to stand apart, be different.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s a question to ponder. And I know certainly if you if we were talking about leadership in leaders, I would I would if I were talking in leadership, I would say from age four or five, you can generally pick up the kind of elements present in the person which will make them a future leader. And they just at age five, get them in a playground. And they, for a boy, you find they’re trying to run everything.
They’re calling the shots the dominant personality in a leadership issue. But we’re not actually we’re not really talking about leadership here necessarily that pulls the lever. So let’s move on the the the next issue. Is to just explore a little bit the difference between revelation and tradition. It says in verse 15 that when God, God, the one who set me apart from the time of being in the womb of my mother and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his son in me so that I might preach him to the gospel immediately.
I did not consult flesh and blood. Now, the nature of people’s understanding that is Cole is quite interesting. Paul believed that he was called while still in his mother’s womb. And this in itself is not unusual. We have that John the Baptist. Jesus, Jeremiah, quite possibly Moses, quite possibly Samuel. This in itself is not unusual. What is interesting for us is the fact that the knowledge of the coal only came with the encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus.
Why the gap with Paul and with Jesus and with Moses and with Joseph? You know, that’s like 180 says the child continued to grow and become strong in spirit. He lived in the desert until the day of his public appearance in Israel. This is alluding to John the Baptist. Now, now we’re kind of touching this concept, the ways of God, we’re touching it gently, and I’m certainly not trying to push this too far because this bears on the very question we just asked, is it not possible, therefore, that the call of God can be upon a person’s life?
Well, before the conversion that God has chosen them for a purpose. And the fact that they’re not a Christian doesn’t God doesn’t wait until they become Christians before he calls them. He chooses them one of the while before they’re born. But at an appropriate time, he reveals the call to them. Now, Oregon, that’s Brenston. Because the age at which he chooses to to choose and to reveal, you know, for John the Baptist, that may have been late 20s.
For Paul, it may be in 30s, the 40s, God doesn’t seem to be in a hurry, does he? It’s it’s it seems that the call the timing of the call is related to the person’s development, growth and the context and the readiness of that opportunity to do it. And that that what we we seem to do is kind of discover the call
rather than receive the call. And again, it comes back to this question, I believe you can you can often see the seeds of a call in a person’s life God’s going to use in a particular way, might be a musician, might be a pastor, could be a business person, which is this is destiny upon their life, whatever it might be.
This is the seeds of it there. But that’s all is just the seeds. And maybe others could observe it, could watch it, watch the formation and development, and often with the person themselves largely unaware of what’s going on. And then at the particular time the encounter takes place, he says of 16, God was pleased to reveal his son in me. We can only know God who God is through a revelation of Jesus. That’s what that’s what God needed to reveal to pull Paul’s view of who God was, was flawed.
That was the problem. It’s not easy to believe in God. He believed in God, but his understanding of who God was was fundamentally flawed. And the only way his understanding of who God was could be altered was through a revelation of Jesus. Nineteen twenty two, Jesus is all things that have been handed over to me by my father and no one knows who the son is except the father and who the father is, except the son and anyone to whom the son will reveal him.
We had a young man visit our church last Sunday, the Sunday before, and he’d been into the New Age and self awareness of discovery and all of this, and he asked whether he could put his promotional material for his self discovery thing on the back of the church. Well, ultimately, the pastor had to say to him, look, I understand what you’re into and all of this, but our starting point of self awareness and who who we are and what God wants to be, it doesn’t start with self.
It starts with Jesus. And and your whole starting point is not one which we could in any way encourage and promote. And so. Through Jesus, he has a revelation of God and Jesus in the plan of God and a revelation that he should preach him to the Gentiles. So he has to get his relationship with God, right? He has to get his relationship with Jesus right, and then he needs to know what God wants him to do.
Now, let’s say your God for a moment, and you want to get someone to change the hearts of these Stefanic Jews, these rabbis, these scribes and Pharisees, why not get the best of the best? Here is so let’s convert him and then let’s let him loose. It’s not God’s plan, is it? You got to impose a love for the Jews and Romans to talk about it, you know, even give my life in exchange for them.
And this is a sense. But God says, you know, those people you despised, you know, as a Pharisee who took a vow never to show an act of kindness to a gentile, you know, those you denounce me, I’m sending you to me. It’s the cold. Is it any wonder? That process immediately, I did not consult flesh and blood. It’s it’s not only is it proof that his gospel was not from man, it is proof that his calling is not for men.
Because if he’d gone to them, they know at this stage, at this early stage, at the time of his conversion, they’ve said we’re not called to preach the gospel gentiles. Many preaching to the Jews because of Paul’s conversion is 80 thirty four or thirty five, which is when it would have been because we can disinviting through this particular passage of scripture so we can assume it to be any thirty three. Thirty four. At that time, the early apostles were preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, only preaching to Jews.
And if he’d gone to them, they could have completely redirected our focus of his ministry. It was still a gospel synod, but it wouldn’t have been gentiles it. And in this there is a lesson, folks, that that the question of revelation in terms of us at working Adesina, please, God, we’ve got to hear from God. Lots of people will give you their ideas as to what they think you should do. But in terms of our call, we’ve got to hear from God.
There’s a place for confirmation and we’ll see this. But ultimately, it has to be it has to come from God. As a you know, as a pastor, I know you run a church and you see the needs and you see the people and you think, well, now this is neat over here and there’s this person over here and think, well, they’ve got the gifts and this is the gifts which are needed. And you can say, you know, you can say,
look, I really think God will have you work over here.
And that’s that is always the temptation is being a pastor later. But what I know is that that at times and Sunday last time, I wanted to be a very good example and one of our youth leaders surely to give to give birth, we have a rule in that church. When a mother gives birth, she should withdraw from leadership for at least the first six months to allow the full formation of what she can then return into a leadership role.
She’s not to give it up permanently, but she’s going to step down and be a mother for a period of time. And it’s one of those rules we’ve instituted or principles we’ve put in place, which is inconvenient. It’s convenient for them. Just carry on and bring your child. But but we’ve got it. And we we seek to stick by it. And and I’m thinking, man, oh, man, the baby’s due six weeks, you know, what are you doing?
And so on. But I believe God can reveal the call to a person’s life. I really believe it. And if people are sitting there and they hear the need and they know what God has said to them, then they can put the two things together. And the wonderful thing is, when someone comes to you and says, you know, I listen to what you said. I’ve been sitting there for months and months and months and months and months, you know, but I actually think this is what God wants me to do.
And this is the reasons why it’s wonderful, because then the ministry is not based simply someone tapping them on the shoulder. There’s ministry and based on an encounter with God, starting on God, saying, this is what I want you to do. I was 17 and then we’ll pause again, and we we had a little bit of a look at this, I think in the last series Pulses in verse 17, I did not go up to those who were Postles before me, but I went to Arabia and again returned to Damascus.
Now, if you remember, for some of you, those who are here, this is the interesting issue. It appears that Paul, after his conversion is encounter on the way, goes to Damascus, whites and an comes prays for him. The vowels come from his eyes. He gets filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesies over him. The call. The call. This is the revelation of the call upon his life. Paul, a man who gets up, gets baptized, begins to refute the Jews proving to the scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.
This is a quick learner. I have to tell you, he’s starting back. Then the persecution arises. Are they in a basket leaning over the wall? Damascus. I’ve been there. I’ve seen the wall. Know there’s a little church in the wall and the basket church. And there he goes into Arabian. Now, the region around Damascus was called Arabia. That’s not a long journey. He goes there possibly to another religious community away from the city.
And as I said when I was teaching last time, there is this possibility that they were it was an Essien community or community of Kumaran. We know from from the writings of the Dead Sea Scrolls that from command that they had sent various of the disciples to Damascus to establish a community where everyone he went and withdrew that. My point and the heading is, is sometimes is a need to retreat before we can advance. And this is the sense of going back and rethinking some of the foundations.
Upon which we’ve got to where we are, we need then we need to rethink the. Up until recently, did some people aren’t saying there is not there is not one pivotal moment in your Christian journey as a disciple of Jesus is the first when you choose to become a disciple of Jesus. For me, there was a point at one of consecration of my life to Christ, just like another man. There was then a decision, which was one of abandoning my professional career and coming into full time ministry.
And each of these points before I could advance, I needed to retreat. I need to withdraw from what I was doing and just go back to God in prayer and scripture and saying, Lord, what is that? You’re leading me until we know what I need to do to please you. And what do I need to re-examine which might hold hold me up in the way I’ve been for those who like. Have you heard me use the scripture that Isaiah one, verse 19, has become quite significant to me because it talks about for those who who are willing and and obedient, will eat the good of the land, the wealth of land.
And it’s one thing to be obedient. But are you willing customers will obey because we know it’s a smart thing to do. The question is, are we willing to do it? Is our heart with our will that point, with our with our head and heart kind of issue? And Paul needed to get to withdraw because there there’s no question about the call. But you think about all the stuff, all the ignorance which all the zeal and ignorance, all those issues which need to be rethought and reprocessed to preparing, he could of thinking of Paul using one of those.
And he didn’t just rush down to the next city and get into it and rush here and rest there. And because he was because of his zeal. But what he says, he says that. He went to Arabia and again returned to Damascus and then in verse 18, after three years, I went to Jerusalem to get acquainted with key facts that we began to sort of touch this particular verse under another heading. But there seems to be this three year period.
Everything of all information, all the knowledge and scripture, all the zeal, all of this he has is and he has stopped. Assistant. I don’t think it has to be three years. I don’t think it’s I don’t think the period which is important, but I believe this is now working and desire to please God. There are times in our work with where we’ve got to stop. We have to see what we’re doing. We have to engage in a process of reflection and rethinking and saying for some it’s a weekend, for some it’s 10 days for some.
For some, it’s going to some sort of Bible college for a few months, whatever it might be. For others, it was it’s it’s depending on the nature of the call, a period of two or three. My my experience. I’ll share with you the having come out of the profession as a chartered accountant where I was writing legal opinions for multinational corporations on an international tax structures, which is what I was doing for the last six, seven years before I, I and my clients were the largest multinational corporations in the world in terms of who had offices in Australia and so on.
And invariably you’re dealing with millions of dollars and you couldn’t be wrong because if you’re wrong, if your advice was wrong and what the tax laws said and how they structured, you got sued. Every opinion you wrote went through six or seven drafts and then someone else saw this and you worked under this incredible pressure. We are sitting in the library and I have this revelation. That I was working probably 50 percent harder than any other student in the seminary.
I was working longer hours. I was more meticulous in my written work. I was more meticulous in my research, you know, and I was getting the grades which showed it. And I had simply kind of transferred my passion and culture and all manner of life here to hear how, for instance, Christ, for very few of them observed this crazy Australian. And it’s just this zeal for ignorance, zeal for knowledge, zeal for knowledge would have been a good way to describe it.
And it was just it was just a transference. And I remember I came back and I became dean of a Bible college and I had this lady who was in her 50s as my secretary is real sweaty. And she was great, you know, and I’d write a letter and this is before computers. I write a letter and come back and I’d say I do a second draft and come back and do a third draft then. And and I came home one day and she was crying.
I said, what’s the matter? And she said, I never worked in a place where it has to be exactly right. You know, it’s like and I realized what was is this cultural shift and I still hadn’t done it. And God with Paul allows him the time. Do you think Ron is going to be forty three? You wouldn’t have thought he had a lot of time to waste or mid 30, something like that. We don’t know exactly.
Surely. Surely once is called, it must happen straight away and straight before you advance. Then and then only after the revelation, after the time with God, after knowing what is the gospel and knowing what is called to do and where to go, then it’s confirmation, then becomes confirmation. Then he comes to Jerusalem. Then he goes to confess. Do you want me to pause, do you want me to say know? I can see then it’s safe to get confirmation that it’s more than safe.
It’s really variable. And he says he goes up there and I remain near him for 15 days, three, seven, that’s the significance of the 15 days you can’t travel on the Sabbath. So they plan to arrive in a jury before
Sabbath starts. They stay through the Sabbath. And when the Sabbath is finished, he takes off, he says. So no other apostles except James, the brother of the Lord. So he builds relationships with key fasts, with James, with people who he feels he can trust.
This is where things are right to you in the presence of God. I’m not lying. He defends his truthfulness. And in chapter two, it’s just turn for to Chapter two and we’ll come back to the rest of Chapter one, he says. In verse one, he says then after 14 years, he goes up to the Barnabus taking TARDIS with Barnabas taking TARDIS probably 14 years since his conversion and his ministry is significant, Missions Ministry still hasn’t started, so.
Eighty three for his conversion, 14 years and forty eight he goes to Jerusalem with Barnabas and some forty six to forty eight. This trip would take place. Paul knew the call of God. He knew it. He knew what it was. But it’s time now to have a confirmed by others. Says those two are winnable, according to Revelation, this appears to be the revelation given to activists in Akst 11 vs. twenty seven to twenty nine, and it had to do with the famine, 14 years of waiting for the call of God to be fulfilled, a time of patience.
Moses certainly went through this. As did Jesus Ediz, as did a ton of preparation, but also a ton of activity as go, if we can go back to Chapter one, we’ll fund you guys back to Tharsis and begins to preach just in the areas around about. Presumably amongst presumably most Jews. He says, I placed before them the gospel, which I preach to the Gentiles, confident of what God has spoken to him. He is finally willing to be accountable.
It’s important to know what you’ve heard from God and if it is really from God, those who are mature in Christ will confirm it. He was not willing to submit to the traditions of men, and you’re going to find he gets quite antagonistic about that, but nor should we fear the opinions of godly men. He says, I went to them privately to those who have high regard, you know, it’s always easy to find someone who will agree with you.
The test. Is to go to someone who, you know, is respected by others. Let’s hear the warning Proverbs 12 15, the word reform is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel. Proverbs 12 15, he says, in case that Paul would have found this difficult to write, he says, in case I’d been or was running vainly in his ministry, was not based from God. The calling was not from God.
But he wanted to confirm our honest evaluation of both the president in the past. And that’s what we need. We need ours and others. Paul describes himself in this terms, he says, When I was a child, I used to speak to the child, think of a child raised as a child. When I became a man, I did away with childish things and dirty. He recognized the danger of his early development that he got here, really got it wrong.
Then does the shifts, then once the confirmation. He he says the end of the anniversary, not even Titus, who was with me being Greg, was compelled to be circumcised. I’m going to skip that. He raises a controversy. Would you be there and the rest of Galatians for us. And we’ll see this again and again. So if we go back to chapter one, we see that there’s this need for confirmation. One of the ways of God, the ways of God is not just a call which may begin with us, but when the call came, when the time comes, there’s a need for confirmation.
You know, you get Moses questioning, you know, Lord, why me? Is it really me? You sure it’s me? If you made a mistake. There’s this humility that Paul is willing is what he does not want to miss it. It doesn’t want to miss the I don’t know how you feel about what I’ve just said, because implied in this whole thing is between the call and the confirmation is an extensive period of preparation. And the danger is with us that we get a call and assume it’s now let’s run out and do it.
Paul doesn’t. He’s he’s he’s impetuosity, he’s got him into trouble already. His zeal has done great damage. He’s not going to go down that line again. So. Back in Chapter one, we get these this he simply says in verse 20, when I went into regions of Taras Cilicia, which is around Tharsis verse twenty two, I was known I was unknown by face to the Christian churches in Judea. I hadn’t gone
beyond that and gone back there.
Only they were hearing that he was previously persecuting, is now preaching the faith which previously he destroyed. News about us often precedes our testimony, prepares the way for. The question is so often, are we willing or are we willing, knowing God wants to use us to allow him to prepare us, including the little things we do, so that when the kind of a significant period of ministry, his opponents were properly prepared.
And we will. Can you imagine what it is like for Moses known he was called 40 years in the wilderness, running around the mountain as a ship and David anointed. I don’t know. I actually don’t think I’ve ever figured out how many years between David’s anointing by Samuel and the death of soul. All I know was here, there and everywhere, caves living in other nations, fleeing all part of preparation. So the the issue is we don’t have to be a soul, we don’t have to be a singer, we have many of these.
It’s the fact that in any area of life that God wants to release us, there will be I just calling the preparation. And part of it that if we may have to be rethinking our whole belief structure, some some things just rethinking, reworking it. Certainly in the case of Saul, it was their. Again, what’s going on out there? You want to reflect on this, this is kind of the ways, the dealing of God in this man’s life.
Sounds different when you think of Jesus, you can follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men, you think we went straight out of the water and drew the line and that maybe four and a half years between three and four and a half years following Jesus, preying on how you figure out the link to Jesus ministry. Then they stay in Jerusalem for a number of years that move out. Finally, they take off, you know, it was not happening in a hurry.
Isn’t it and yet so often we want God to kind of do it and do it now we say surely five years is long, surely 10 years, 20, 40. In the words of God, it just doesn’t seem that important given, you know, given that he’s his first missionary journey starts in eighty, forty eight and it’s a shame he died probably at 68. Yes, 20 years. They could have had 60. Now, 20 years, 20 years, another 20 years to change the world.
Twenty years to be aside from Jesus, the most influential, all the early disciples through his writing, and even when he starts writing, this is the thing I’ve often pondered. He stops writing, he starts writing letters. People stop counterfeiting them and he stops writing. So we don’t even have he could have just say how long the Bible could have been. And we don’t we don’t know. But very early, you know, with the the latest Paul’s writings may be Romans and.
Had diagrams, you know, it’s it’s it’s difficult, but it may be an 80, 60, 61, 52, 12, 13 years after his ministry. So long, no long period. And mean my minister for ten years. But clearly, we know from Thessalonians people were beginning to forge these letters and say, and I’ve got a date in the Bible, there is 12. And so it’s not long. Norway is of God, it’s not the length of a person’s ministry, it’s the obedience and the quality of doing what God calls them the.
Now, the animals notes, I wanted to just rather move on to where I don’t really stop there. I wanted to observe that immediately because Galatia is pretty much the very beginning of Paul’s ministry. His message gets challenged. Where is in Jerusalem, he says, because first brothers privately brought in who ended secretly to spy and the freedom we have in Christ in order that they might enslave us, we did not yield in subjection to them for an hour and order that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.
And it’s like he goes for confirmation. What happens? Parcells are happy, but some has come into the place and begin to challenge his gospel. But what they were teaching, we will explore that when we want to serve God and girls in, as I tell you, and these were religious, these believers, the opposition to Paul’s ministry at the beginning was not Jews. It was Jewish believers. It was within the church of the opposition came. 36.
He says that from those in high regard and to be something, but what they are makes no difference to me for God’s God receives. It’s funny, but literally it says not the face of a man because not oppressed by appearance and appearances for me. Those of her standing have imparted nothing. On the contrary, they saw that I am entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised just as Peter to the circumcised. He can’t. The next thing, he finally gets confirmation, he gets there, the policies are affirming him.
But what happens? People are brought in to try and undermine his calling in his message. When it when I talk to people who God is leading them in, as I say, whether it’s in ministry or whether it’s in something they wanted to do for God or whether it’s just the outworking of their faith, and they really have had a revelation from God the number of times they’ll come to me and saying that so-and-so has questioned what I’m saying, what someone is saying, no, that’s not right.
Whatever this is, challenge goes on. Wearside Paul says he worked in PETA for his sponsorship of the circumcised, also works in me for the Gentiles. Actually, I think verses eight, eight, nine and 10 will save the two rich the next week, because I think it’s there’s a part of us need to recognize the very nature of our call. So this is the this is the pattern. Peyton is God’s calling while he’s in his mother’s womb, his growth in Judaism, his zeal, his ignorance.
His revelation. Is needing to withdraw before he can advance, he’s going back to where he started from in Kansas and kind of after three years in Arabia, rethinking all as he goes to Jerusalem. But he gets confirmation and affirmation, but he goes home because of opposition and he waits 14 years not doing nothing, ministering in the regions around about. It’s not it’s not his future. It’s not his great apostolic ministry. It’s not his lifetime call, but it’s part of the whole preparation.
It’s doing what you can do while waiting for what you really believe. God’s called your sense of destiny. If there’s a danger with Christians who have a sense of call upon their life is it’s so I don’t you know, I’m not going to do anything because I’m waiting for the fulfillment of this dream. This vision, this revelation pulled in. He got on with doing what he could do while waiting. And we know from acts what happens is when gentiles begin to believe in and hear Barnabas lives and which is not far away, goes down to Tharsis knows to call upon this life and says, now is your time, come with me.
And it’s the launching pad. But he’s not inactive. He’s doing what he can do. It’s preaching the gospel to wherever he can. But it’s just the it’s just the embryo of his ministry. He wants to please God. But it’s not just this then that. This is this phases and stages and. Sadly, as well as we’ll see as we begin next week, will find that his enemies were frequently those within rythm without. But has anything changed for those who would oppose the gospel or those who claim to preach the gospel?
So. Let’s the issue. All right, let’s bring in. Father, we’re on a journey. And sometimes it seems like we’re going backwards rather than forwards around the mountain again and again, you know, we want to say that the we want you to do whatever you need to do in us, that you might be able to do whatever you want to do through us. Finally got us from misguided zeal, but give us those who can who can affirm to us that we’re heading in the right way.
And it gives us the ability to discern those to distract us, divert us and help us to see them for what they are. Well, not true friends, but those who are unwillingly being used by Satan. So we want to learn your ways and we want to walk in your ways. In Jesus name.