SWORDS Bible Study: Why Is Paul Your Apostle? (He was not one of the 12!) PART 7
(All caps for emphasis only)
Talking about the differences in the gospel given to Israel and the gospel given to the newly raised Apostle Paul for the Gentiles…do you find it of interest that Saul was THEE persecutor of the 12 Apostles, and any Jews who believed that Jesus was the chosen Messiah? That Paul was on a major mission to not only defame them, but to torture and kill ALL these members of the little flock…which was the remnant of believing Israel!
Saul first appears in Scripture as a witness to the martyrdom of Stephen.
Act 7:58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
Act 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Why would Saul agree with the murder of Stephen? Because Stephen was claiming that Jesus was the Son of man, just as Jesus had proclaimed in Mark 14:62. Stephen was declaring Jesus the Messiah which most likely infuriated Saul the Pharisee who did not possess a knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ.
Act 26:9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Act 26:10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
Act 26:11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
Now, think about the fact that Saul was stopped quite DRAMATICALLY on the road to Damascus by the RISEN Lord Jesus Christ!
Remember too…what Saul’s mind set and purpose was while traveling on this road to Damascus! He was breathing out THREATENINGS AND SLAUGHTER against the disciples of the Lord!
He was heading out to grab and drag anyone who believed Jesus was the Messiah back to Jerusalem to slaughter! (Acts 9:1-2)
INCREDIBLE circumstances occurred! Brought about by Jesus Christ, standing at the right hand of the Father in heaven! (Acts 7:56)
A light shining round about Saul from HEAVEN! I believe only he saw the light as the Scripture only records that the soldiers heard the voice of a man.
What would a light shining around one from HEAVEN be like? Like the brightest of lasers? A blinding light?
Saul falling to the earth and hearing a VOICE from heaven asking him WHY was Saul persecuting Him!
Paul definitely BELIEVED it was God addressing him, because in his reply he addressed the voice as Lord! When the Lord identified Himself as Jesus whom Saul had been persecuting, Paul believed the word of God. (Might want to re-read that last sentence…it is heavy in context.)
Saul believed when the voice said it was Jesus who spoke to him, because Saul asked to know what the Lord wanted of him!
This was a TOTAL game changer for Saul.
Saul was a Jew. Take a look at who Saul was in Israel!
Act_26:5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straightest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
Php_3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Paul was not only a Jew, but a citizen of Rome!
Act 21:39 But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.
He was highly educated having been taught at the feet of Gamaliel! Gamaliel is recognized as a Pharisee doctor of Jewish Law and was held in great esteem by all Jews. He was the Jewish law teacher of Saul.
Act 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
We see that Paul had quite the genealogy… because we know that Benjamin was the second son of Rachel and Jacob (Genesis 35: 16-18) so there are a couple more relatives right there too!
This is Paul speaking:
Rom 11:1 b For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
It always has struck me that God picked this man who is a Roman (Gentile) AND a high-ranking Jew, both by circumstance, circumcision and genealogy to bring the gospel of the grace of God to mankind.
Act_20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
God chose Saul specifically to make manifest the mystery to those who will believe! Col 4:3-4; Eph 6:20
It is noteworthy that the Apostle Paul calls the gospel given to him by the Risen Christ “my gospel” three times! Here they are:
Rom_2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to MY GOSPEL.
Rom_16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to MY GOSPEL, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
2Ti_2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to MY GOSPEL:
What made this gospel uniquely Paul’s gospel?
I believe it is because the gospel of the grace of God was given directly by the risen Jesus Christ SOLEY to the Apostle Paul, for us. It was NEVER given to the prophets. It was NEVER before prophesied. Yet, the gospel taught by the 12 Apostles was known and taught by what the prophets HAD spoken!
What was given to the Apostle Paul was a mystery. I love a good mystery…however, I love a mystery when in the end it is REVEALED!
And this mystery which was kept SECRET, HID in God from the beginning of the world was made manifest to us all THROUGH the gospel of the Apostle Paul!
Rom_16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept SECRET since the world began,
Eph_3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been HID in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Paul’s gospel is two-fold.
It saves those who believe! And the believer is stablished according to this belief!
It makes all men who believe see what is the fellowship of the mystery, the unsearchable riches of Christ!
Eph 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Eph 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
The Gospel that saves today:
1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: