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That He May be Glorified

That He May be Glorified

Words of Faith 5-13-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 1

     [18] Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. [19] I saw none of the other apostles--only James, the Lord's brother. [20] I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. [21] Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. [22] I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. [23] They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." [24] And they praised God because of me.

 

        Why all this effort concerning where the Gospel came from?  We will see in the chapters ahead that Paul's opponents in Galatia were "legalizers."  They had come into the area preaching to Gentile believers that they needed to become Jewish-- obeying the Law and practicing circumcision-- before they could be Christian.  This became a watershed issue in the early church both in this letter and at the Council of Jerusalem described in Acts 15.

        For this reason, Paul wanted to be very clear that the truth of the Gospel did not come from any man.  This was not something that he or anyone else had thought up.

        After his dramatic conversion, Paul spent three years with God before ever meeting with any of the apostles.  When he finally went to Jerusalem, Paul spent only fifteen days there and only met with Peter and James the brother of Jesus.  (This James was different from James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John the beloved.)

         Paul was not trying to deny the importance of Peter or James or the things that they talked about when they met.  James would have given the perspective of an observant Jewish family member growing up with Jesus, at times thinking Jesus was crazy, and then slowly coming to the realization that He was the Messiah of God. 

        Peter would have reflected on the life of ministry he shared with Jesus over three years.  All this would enrich the Gospel that Paul already understood with the greatest of clarity.

        The Revelation that Paul wrote about here was fundamentally about the meaning of these huge events.  Paul was unique in bringing together the threads of history-- the Law, the life, ministry, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus-- into the final Gospel core of salvation by grace through faith.

        Out of these conversations the two leading apostles, Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, and Peter, the apostle to the Jews became acquainted and were able to encourage each other in their work.  It was not that Paul did not know Peter but that he was not dependent upon Peter or any other human authority.

         The next chapter in Paul's life was not in the immediate area of Jerusalem (in Judea) where he would have been the authority of the other apostles.  Instead, he was far away from Jerusalem in the regions of Syria and Cilicia.  He was, by necessity, under his own authority.  

          The hometown of Paul was Tarsus in Cilicia. According to Acts 11:25, Barnabas went there to get Paul when he needed his help for the work in Antioch. Antioch was the capital of Syria. It was in Antioch that Paul began his ministry and later was sent by the church into the area of Galatia on his first missionary journey.

         In spite of the dramatic conversion of Paul, he was a virtual unknown in Judea and Jerusalem.  Believers had heard of Paul's conversion at the time it happened, but he dropped so completely from sight that he was almost forgotten. The only report heard was that the one who long ago was persecuting the church is now preaching the gospel.

         The interesting thing is that Paul could have become a celebrity, but instead he labored as an unknown for years.  It was only after long years of relative obscurity that Paul began the enormous missionary efforts launched by the Holy Spirit through the church at Antioch.  In all this, God was glorified.  As Paul put it, "They praised God because of me."

         What is this about?  It is essential that we understand that these arguments were not about pride.  Paul was not boasting about his independence in receiving the Gospel.  The goal of all this was that God would be glorified.  They praised God because of Paul.  It is an interesting phrase.  It is an excellent question to ask, are there some who praise God because of us?  Are there some who rejoice and worship God because we took the harder road or even the obscure road and in the end walked carefully into the path He had for us?

 

          Father God, I want nothing more than for You to be glorified.  Take me down the path of obscurity or unknown labor if necessary, so that You may be glorified.  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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