Talks for Growing Christians
Paul Defends His Apostolic Authority
Lesson Number 2
- The gospel of Jesus Christ was not invented by man.
- The life of a believer is not programmed by man.
- Have you had both a Damascus Road and an Arabian Retreat experience?
- Read Acts 9:1-18 and Galatians 1:11-16. From these Scriptures, write a biographical sketch of Paul’s (Saul’s) early days as a believer.
- According to Galatians 2:21, where did Paul first preach the gospel?
- Why did Paul relate details to the Galatians concerning his conversion and early Christian life?
- Explain the concept of revelation.
- What is the difference between religion and biblical Christianity?
- Saul actively sought out and persecuted Christians until he met the Lord Jesus. As he neared Damascus, a light shined around him from heaven; he fell to the ground and heard a voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul identified the voice as the Lord’s. Then Saul asked the Lord what he wanted him to do. At that point Saul remained blind for three days. The Lord Jesus spoke to both Saul and Ananias (a disciple of the Lord). The Lord assured Ananias that Saul was His chosen vessel to bear His name to the Gentiles, before kings, and to the Jews. Saul (Paul) realized that he had been called from birth to preach the gospel among the Gentiles. He went into Arabia for three years, then he went to Jerusalem.
- Paul was from Tarsus, in the region of Cilicia. He returned home to share the gospel.
- The Judaizers were distorting the pure gospel of Jesus Christ and they tried to undermine Paul’s authority as an apostle. So Paul did this to defend both his authority as an apostle and the gospel he preached, that both came directly from the Lord Himself.
- Revelation is direct communication; a divine truth from God.
- All the religions in the world are human-works oriented except biblical Christianity. Biblical Christianity is uniquely different in that man does nothing for salvation and God does everything.
- “I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12) Paul received the gospel of Jesus Christ independently by revelation from the Lord Himself! Review the difference between man-made religions and biblical Christianity. In the former, man tries to attain his own salvation by works; in the latter, God does everything to provide the free gift of salvation.
- Paul’s life had been totally works-oriented in the past, but now he lived by faith according to the gospel given to him directly from the Lord. The former Saul, who persecuted Christians, was now Paul, the Christian, and he was leading others to Christ. “It pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…” (Galatians 1:15-16) Paul recognized that he had been separated from birth to preach Christ to the Gentiles. He was led by the Lord step-by-step, and he noted that his life was programmed by God Himself. How about you? As a believer, do you realize that your birth, your conversion, and your area of service are all programmed by the Lord? “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the Lord,’ thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). Recall other Scriptures that assure you of God’s leading in your life.
- The apostle Paul was “religious” before his dramatic conversion on the way to Damascus to persecute Christians. Now he was saved and had a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Question: Are you “religious,” or do you have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you had a Damascus Road experience, having confessed your sins, realizing that Christ died as your substitute for those sins? Have you received Him as your Lord and Savior?
- After Paul’s conversion, he went to Arabia for a retreat, spending time alone with the Lord, studying the word and looking for the Lord’s guidance. Have you taken time out for an Arabian Retreat? Do you spend serious quality time with the Lord?
- “I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12)
- “When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood.” (Galatians 1:15-16)
- “I went immediately into Arabia …for three years.” (Galatians 1:17-18)
- “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God in me.” (Galatians 1:23-24)