Paul’s Preparation


Galatians 1:11-24 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ: but they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preaches the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.

Interpretation & Explanation

Verses 11-12 – But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

  • The gospel Paul preached was authentic and from Christ who is not a man
  • Paul had been taught many things from men, but not the gospel

Verses 13-14 – For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

  • In the Jews religion
    • Paul knew what he was talking about
    • He was not “blowing off steam” about just any opposition
  • Beyond measure
    • To the highest possible degree
    • Made it his life’s ambition
  • Wasted it
  • Profited
    • In rank
    • In prestige
    • In power
    • In money?
  • Exceedingly zealous – zeal is not always good!
  • Traditions of my fathers
    • Not the Bible (OT)
    • Oral traditions, Jewish system

Verses 15-17 – But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

  • When it pleased God
    • God’s timing is right (when)
    • God’s purpose is right (pleased)
    • God is always right
  • Separated me from my mother’s womb… that I might preach
    • God has plans for us even before us
    • Even those who go far astray can come to him and accomplish his will
      • Paul
      • Augustine
      • John Newton
      • John Bunyan
    • God prepares even before conversion – everything is within his purpose
    • Never despair of any “potential” convert
  • Called me by his grace
    • What wonderful grace
    • While on the road to Damascus
    • While breathing out threatenings, etc.
  • To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him
    • The purpose of his conversion was that he might preach
    • The purpose of our conversion is to let the “heathen” know about Christ
  • Immediately
    • No delay
    • Now is the accepted time
    • Today is the day of salvation
  • I conferred not with flesh and blood
    • Apostolic office
    • Was taught by the Lord himself
  • Them which were apostles
    • He compares himself with the apostles
    • He did not go to them to be “apostlized”

Verses 18-23 – Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

  • After three years – God’s seminary

Verse 24 – And they glorified God in me.

  • We should glorify God whenever anyone is converted
  • We can still give thanks for Paul’s conversion

Illustration & Application

The plan of redemption

  • When it pleased God…

The Christ of salvation

  • What a wonderful Savior
  • God loves to save sinners
  • What a gracious and merciful God

The message to the church

  • Preparation is important
    • Do not look at time or training before salvation as lost and completely useless – how did God prepare you before salvation?
    • Do not look at time in preparation as wasted – preparation IS ministry
    • Take advantage of opportunities to prepare
    • God knows the future and puts opportunities before you
    • We do not know the future, we must make the right decisions in the events and opportunities before us right now

 

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