Targeted Apostleship

Targeted Apostleship

Words of Faith 5-16-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 2

       [6] As for those who seemed to be important--whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance--those men added nothing to my message. [7] On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. [8] For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. [9] James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.   [10] All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

 

       These were pivotal times for Paul and Peter. The big question was how the respected leaders in Jerusalem would respond to Paul and to the Gospel that he was preaching throughout the Gentile world? Would they affirm Paul's unique call alongside them in partnership to carry the Gospel to the world beyond Judaism, or would they demand something more of Gentiles coming to faith? The response was truly amazing considering what was at stake.

       The leadership in Jerusalem added nothing to the message of Paul. They did not ask for any changes. They did not think Paul's message was an abbreviated one or that it was redesigned to be more attractive to Gentiles. They did not believe that believers should be required to study Moses or obey the Law to be a genuine member of the church. They did not think that circumcision or food laws needed to be imposed upon non-Jews coming to faith.

       Even more, the leadership in Jerusalem confirmed that the message of Paul was the same message as that of Peter and the other leaders. Some of these significant leaders no doubt would have preferred a more Jewish-looking community, but even with those social hesitations, they were confident in the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit to permit Paul’s gospel to work itself out as it made an impact in the Gentile world.

       Perhaps the most essential affirmation was that the leadership in Jerusalem officially recognized Paul's unique calling to the Gentiles. These pillar leaders perceived that God had separate callings for Paul and Peter, but they also affirmed that this did not mean that each had a different gospel-- only that each had a separate target for ministry. God was at work in both, and the right hand of fellowship was officially extended as an announcement.

       The modern church can listen carefully and learn.

       Can there be different targets for the Gospel today while expressing the same Gospel? Of course. Can there be radically different trappings in the expression of the Gospel while still holding to the truth of the Gospel? Absolutely. Does every church or ministry need to look the same as every other? Certainly not. Can there be affirmation and cooperation between ministry efforts that are thousands of miles apart and quite different from each other? One would hope.

       The truth is that God is indeed at work in many different cultural settings with many different targets and trappings. It is God who is at work, not the trappings. It is the Gospel that changes lives, not the cultural slant. The great testimony is to find that same right hand of fellowship and affirm those who are work for the Gospel.

 

         Father God, help me to look beyond the exterior and see to the core of the Gospel in all that I do and all that I rejoice in. Help me to see my brothers and sisters as they labor for Your Kingdom whether it is in a similar way to mine or in a manner quite different. In Jesus' Name.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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