GO THY WAY: FOR HE IS A CHOSEN VESSEL UNTO ME, TO BEAR MY NAME BEFORE THE GENTILES, AND KINGS,AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL: ( 17 ) FOR I WILL SHEW HIM HOW GREAT THINGS HE MUST SUFFER FOR MY NAME’S SAKE.
THE TRUTH, THE CHURCH, THE ROCK OF OUR FOUNDATION
In this lesson I’d like to attempt to show the significance of theses verses as it relates to every born again believer since the salvation of the Apostle Paul and just how much spiritual weight is placed on each of us as well as it was in the calling of the Apostle Paul.
If you study this account in its entirety you will see the Salvation of a man named Saul. Once he was saved, he was blinded and led to the house of Ananias. Ananias fears him because he killed believers or put them in prison. The Holy Spirit enabled Ananias, being a believer to remove the scales from the eyes of Saul. If we make these scales a spiritual point; what would that be? One thing it could be could be is ( religion). Saul was blinded by religion. The question today might be; are you? Has religion blinded you to the point that you cannot see the truth of salvation? Often that is a fact, a controlling factor in the lives of many people. Saul was determined that he was doing to work God had called him to do but, he was deceived. What he was doing was a complete contradiction to the gospel of Christ.
This is one of the first places in scripture where we actually see a sinner, once he was born again allowing the spirit of God to use him to help transform another sinner for the glory of God. One other person we might mention here would be Stephen. ( Acts 7: 54-59 ) Here we see where Stephen preached to Saul and others and Saul had him stoned to death. I believe this is where the Holy Spirit began to work on the heart of Saul.
The Apostle Paul made a proclamation that he was the chief sinner. ( 1 Timothy 1:15 ) This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
I entitled this ( the truth, the Church, the rock of our foundation ). God chose the chief of sinners to use as the man that unfolded the mystery concerning the Church. In ( Ephesians 3:1-5 ) we read this. Of all the men that God could have used to set the defining factors of the Church; he chose a man that many might not want to listen to because of his past. Although that fact might not be very visible to us today, I believe that some of the issues the Church faces today exists because of the fact that the Apostle Paul was rejected in his day. I often stated that I believe that understanding the book of Acts is paramount to understanding the Way the Church works correctly today. If we can’t separate law and grace then we will never understand how God ordained the Church to work.
The Apostle Paul is the Apostle to the Church. Without meaning to discredit any of the other Apostles, do you see where any of the rest of them made a statement that they were the chief of sinners or that they were the least of all Apostles? The Apostle Paul made that statement in ( 1 Corinthians 15:9 ).
Often we set our Church up with people that we think are highly esteemed, above reproach and with great spiritual accolades. However, often we see where God uses those that are not highly esteemed but are more in tune and sensitive to his spirit. And, even if they are educated the education is to none effect as far as God’s spirit is concerned.
Before we get more into the meat of this I’d like to show you one more verse; another thing the Apostle Paul said of himself. ( 1 Corinthians 15:8 ) And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
The very point in teaching this lesson is to show just how important we all are as born again believers; beginning with the Apostle to the Church, Apostle Paul. In this verse he points out the fact that he met Jesus Christ after Jesus was crucified. In the previous verses the makes the point that all the rest of the Apostles met him before he was crucified. This one point makes the Apostle Paul just as we are in the sense we all have never seen Jesus Christ either. Now, let’s look at something Jesus said to his disciples. ( John 20:29 ) Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
The Apostle Paul was convicted of his sin and ask Jesus Christ to be his Savior just as we have or every born again believer does today. Our faith and hope is in a man we have never seen or never met in the flesh, but yet we believe by faith.
When God, through his spirit told Ananias that Saul would suffer for his name sake, why would there be suffering? To answer that question; why did Saul seek to punish those that believed in Jesus Christ and, that after he was crucified? The answer to that is in the power of the resurrection. The Apostle Paul made this statement: ( Philippians 3:10 ) That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death; ( 11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
As we look at these verses we might ask the question; what happens when we are born again? Within that answer we see the power of his resurrection. God cannot be killed or destroyed. Jesus Christ and his resurrection was only the first fruit of what we see in ourselves.
This is the foundation of the Church, the body of Christ. At that time the people that ask Jesus to be their savior stopped talking about themselves and began to speak in his name. Another way of saying this would be to say they died and resurrected anew in Christ. This is also called the new birth, old things about us are gone, all things are become new. ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 )
In the religious aspect of their lives , as well as ours, it’s all about looking good, being seen as good, not about Jesus Christ.
I know we never consider this fact but, just as Jesus Christ was an individual that paid the entire cost for the sin of the world, the Apostle Paul was the sole voice for the correct doctrines concerning to Church. That fact had to be. It had to be only one voice because if not then the argument would be what voice is correct?
Even with that being true look at what we have in our Churches to because of the lack of understanding that fact. In most cases, in our Churches we assume things but never truly seek to know the truth or how God desires for it to be.
Can you see how this even involves us today? When you consider, one God, one spirit, one truth then where do we find that truth?
Just as the Apostle Paul was that one voice in the beginning of the Church and was persecuted because of what he said; do we not fight that same battle today. If you doubt that, then you try finding and standing for that one truth and watch what happens.
Look at this verse of scripture: ( 1 Kings 18:21 ) And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
The truth is there is not but two opinions. I call it opinion because of how it’s stated here but either we are walking in the statutes of the Lord or, we are not. Either the Church we attend is standing on the doctrines of the Holy Spirit or it is not. The is no middle ground.
As we consider these things and the true persecution that comes with that truth; there is a question each of us must ask ourselves. Do we truly desire a Church as established by the leadership of the Holy Spirit and governed by the doctrines in scripture or, are we willing to set for less?
Within two miles of where I live there are three Churches. According to the doctrines that govern each of them, ( they halt between opinions). We know that since there is only one truth; they all cannot be teaching correct doctrine, possibly they all are wrong.
As I look at these three Churches, I wonder, isn’t Jesus Christ and what God the Father worth more that just settling? When will we learn not to just disagree but as having two different opinions, seek truth and be willing to submit to that truth. If we as sinners yield to anything less then it’s not the Spirit of God we are yielding to is it?
Romans 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
I’ll close this by saying; everything we do should founded under to concept of seeking truth. We can be seen as good Churches, but not before God; we can name any denomination we choose to and claim it to be the best, but not before God. The Apostle Paul in that verse is saying that about Abraham. The ability of men to justify themselves is a very simple fact, however if God is not pleased with me or my Church then it’s all to non effect. Making certain that God, through his Spirit is content should be the number one focus of all we do.
In attempting to make that certain, we have no idea how much we will suffer for his name sake, just as the Apostle Paul suffered in layout the very same truth.
If we seek to justify we we believe to be true and refuse to change; not only do we separate ourselves from the teaching of the Spirit but, we also become the persecutees of those that seek to reveal truth. We become he enemies of the very cross of Christ.
The Apostle Paul ceased from being the persecutee to becoming the persecuted, where are you in that concept?