Background to Galatians
SAUL BEFORE HE WAS PAUL(Shaulbefore he wasPaulus)
SAUL BEFORE HE WAS PAUL (1)
Philippians 3:7-87Yet whatevergains I had, these Ihave come to regard as lossbecause of the Messiah.8More than that, I regardeverything as lossbecause of the surpassing value of knowing the Messiah Jesus my Lord.WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT –WHO WAS HE?(Hintsfrom Acts and from Paul’s letters)
SAUL BEFORE HE WAS PAUL (2)
TODAY’S THEMES:Appreciation for the backgroundhistory and personality of “Saul”before he was “Paul”2.Re-enforce:Saul/Paul never intended to “start a new religion”separate from Jewish faith; that is not the “before” and “after” of his life. Saul did not “convert” from Judaism to Christianity.
SAUL BEFORE HE WAS PAUL (3)
TODAY’S THEMES:3. The“before” and “after”as Saul to Paul saw it:–HISTORY:God’s work “before Jesus” and “God’s gift of Holy Spirit”and “after” these gifts asGod continues keeping the promise to Abraham-PERSONALLY:“before” is beforemeeting the resurrected/exalted Jesusand “after” meeting Jesus
SAUL BEFORE HE WAS PAUL (4)
TODAY’S THEMES:4.God honorsevenmisplaced “sincerity” because God is very gracious5.No background or personality quirkskeepsGodfromalready having plansto work through you if you are willing
SAUL BEFORE HE WAS PAUL (5)
TODAY’S THEMES:6. Even themost “zealous for God” need a lot ofGRACE and FORGIVENESS –7. CELEBRATE GOD’SAMAZING GRACE
ACTS@ SAUL (1)
7:58– “ayoung mannamed Saul”9:1-2“Saulwent to the high priestand asked for letters to the synagogues in Damascus”18:3– “he was a tentmakeras they (his friends) were”
ACTS @ SAUL (2)
21:39Paul replied, "I am a Jew, fromTarsusin Cilicia, acitizenof animportantcity…22:3"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, butbrought up in this city (Jerusalem)at thefeet of Gamaliel,educatedstrictlyaccording to our ancestrallaw, beingzealous for God, just as all of you are today.
ACTS @ SAUL (3)
22:27-28“The commander went to Paul and asked, ‘Tell me, are you aRoman citizen?’‘Yes, I am,’ he answered.28Then the commander said, ‘I had to pay a huge price for my citizenship.’ ‘But I wasborn a citizen,’Paul replied.”23:12-17–his sister and brother-in-laware also a part of theelite circles in Jerusalem. And, areequally zealousin opposing followers of Jesus.
PAUL’SLETTERS@ SAUL (1)
Philippians 3:3-63For it iswewho are thecircumcision….5(I was) circumcised on theeighth day,of thepeople of Israel,of thetribe of Benjamin,aHebrew of Hebrews;in regard to theTorah, a Pharisee;6as forzeal, persecuting the church;as forrighteousnessbased on theTorah, faultless.
PAUL’S LETTERS @ SAUL (2)
Galatians 1:10, 13-1410Am I now trying to win human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people?If I werestilltrying to please people, I would not be a servant of the Messiah….13For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism,how intensely I persecutedthe church of God and tried to destroy it.14I wasadvancing in Judaism beyond many of my own ageamong my people and wasextremely zealous for the traditionsofmyfathers.
PAUL & LUKE @ SAULTHE PERSECUTOR(1)
2 Corinthians 5:1616So from now on weregard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded the Messiah in this way….
PAUL & LUKE @ SAULTHE PERSECUTOR(2)
Acts 7:57-8:157At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at Stephen,58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not holdthis sinagainst them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.8:1And Saul approved of their killing him.
PAUL & LUKE @ SAULTHE PERSECUTOR(3)
Acts 8:2-3 & 9:1-28:2-3Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.3But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house,he dragged offboth men and womenand put themin prison….9:1Meanwhile,Saul was still breathing out murderous threatsagainst the Lord’s disciples. Hewent to the high priest2and asked him for letters to the synagogues inDamascus, so thatif he found anythere who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them asprisoners to Jerusalem.
PAUL & LUKE @ SAULTHE PERSECUTOR(4)
1 Timothy 1:13-15I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shownmercybecauseI acted in ignorance and unbelief.14Thegraceof our Lord was poured out on meabundantly, along withthe trust and lovethat arein Jesus the Messiah.15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Jesus the Messiah came into the worldto save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
SOME OF WHAT SAUL TO PAULDIDNOTGIVE UP (1)
nothis personality– still apusher,planner,passionate,smart,determined…not give up hispride in being Jewish– “of the circumcision” “brothers” “my kin” “given the covenant”
SOME OF WHAT SAUL TO PAULDIDNOTGIVE UP (2)
not give up thecomfort of sometimes being around people from the same Jewish cultural, religious, and ethnic backgroundas his – Col. 4:10-11Not give up hisRoman Citizenship- a major privilege in the Roman Empire
SOME OF WHAT SAUL TO PAULDIDNOT GIVE UP (3)
not give uplove of the Torah–every letter his instructions about how to live summarize and quote Torahnot give up hiswillingness to work with his handsto support himself when necessarynot give uphis passionate zealousness for God
SOME OF WHAT SAUL TO PAULDIDNOT GIVE UP (4)
not give up histrust that God’s covenant with Abraham controls history -not give uphis Jewish faithto convert to “Christianity”
Some of WHAT SAULDID GIVE UPTO BE PAUL“Before” and “After” meant… (1)
VALUINGANYTHINGIN HIS LIFEMORE THANHE VALUED HISRELATIONSHIP WITH JESUSPERSONAL CAREER PRIVILEGEAMONG PEERS – he choose to leave a “certain ministry status” for a future questioned by church and synagogueFAMILY APPROVAL– once pride of family as protégé of Gamaliel, later brother-in-law in on plot to kill him!PERSONAL PRIDEin thinking he could by will, intellect, and action please God
Some of WHAT SAULDID GIVE UPTO BE PAUL“Before” and “After” meant… (2)
PRIVILEGED(not pride or comfort in being Jewish)STATUSas anEthnic/Observant JEW.Wewereprivileged in God’s revelation process, but no longer.Jesus’ death and resurrectionwasGod’s way of opening upthe privileged relationship with God toanyone in the world who wants it– no matter, race, status, gender, ethnicity, etc.! (before/after)The belief that God could notallow the MESSIAHwho was to beGod’s Agent to “savethe world”to be executed
COMMUNION:Some of what SAUL TO PAULMEANS FOR US (1)
1. GOD WILLNEVER ASK YOU TO GIVE UP YOUR PERSONALITYor the THINGS YOU APPRECIATE ABOUTYOUR BACKGROUND.But, GOD WILL ASK YOU TO MAKE ALL OF THATLESS IMPORTANT THAN YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD THROUGH JESUS2. YOU CANNOTPOSSIBLY HAVE DONE ANYTHING GOOD ENOUGHOR IMPORTANT ENOUGH CULTURALLY, VOCATIONALLY, OR RELIGIOUSLY THAT YOU DONOT NEED JESUS’ LOVE & FORGIVENESS - GRACE
COMMUNION:Some of what SAUL TO PAUL MEANS FOR US(2)
3. YOUCANNOT POSSIBLYHAVE DONEANYTHING BAD ENOUGHTHAT GOD DOES NOT WANTTo Bewith you in God’s FamilyForgiveyou andtransform youstep by stepWork through youto bless others4. So -RENEW YOUR DECISIONTO LET JESUS BE THE “BEFORE” and “AFTER” IN YOUR LIFE
COMMUNION:Some of what SAUL TO PAUL MEANS FOR US(3)
5.CELEBRATEGOD’S AMAZING GRACE– like SAUL and like PAUL – you and I need this amazing grace that God wants to continue giving to us –to you