Chapter 7

PAUL'S AUTHORITY CONFIRMED

(Galatians 2:1-10)

Before we begin our study let us pray,

Dear Heavenly Father,

Holy Father we come into Your presence in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Father please bless our study of Your Word. Please open our eyes so we can see the things You are teaching us. Please open our ears so we can hear Your words. And Father, please open our hearts to receive and accept Your ways.

Amen

INTRODUCTION

In our previous study we found that,

PAUL WAS CALLED BY GOD TO BE AN APOSTLE

To see this let us refresh our memories by reading from,

Galatians 1:1

"[1] Paul, an apostle--sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, "

In addition we also found that,

HIS PREACHING WAS/IS THE WORD OF GOD

The Apostle Paul told us this in,

Galatians 1:11-12

"[11] I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. [12] I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ."

To insure that we have no doubts about the above truths, in this study we will find that, through various avenues God confirmed the authority and ministry He entrusted to the Apostle Paul.

To begin we find that the ministry entrusted to Paul was,

CONFIRMED BY GOD THROUGH THE LAYING ON OF HANDS

As we study the Scriptures we find that one of the ways our God uses to commission or anoint a person into His service is through the laying on of hands. To see this let us read how the Lord God instructed Moses to pass on the leadership of Israel from himself to Joshua. This is recorded for us in,

Numbers 27:12-23

"[12] Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go up this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. [13] After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, [14] for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes." (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.) [15] Moses said to the LORD, [16] "May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community [17] to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord's people will not be like sheep without a shepherd." [18] So the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him. [19] Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. [20] Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. [21] He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the LORD. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in." [22] Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. [23] Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LORD instructed through Moses."

Let us notice the following verses,

12-17 God told Moses that the time had come for him to die. Upon hearing this Moses asked God to appoint a person in his place to lead the nation of Israel.

18-20 God told Moses to lay his hands on Joshua and commission him to assume the leadership role over Israel. Also note that it was through this process God took some of Moses' authority and placed it upon Joshua.

23 Moses complied with God's command. And, as we read the Old Testament we find that indeed the mantle of leadership did fall upon Joshua.

We also find that in a similar way the apostles commissioned (or) appointed the first seven deacons of the church in Jerusalem. This is recorded for us in,

Acts 6:1-6

"[1] In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. [2] So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. [3] Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them [4] and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word." [5] This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. [6] They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them."

Finally, we find that under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Saul (Paul) and Barnabas were commissioned by the elders in the church of Antioch to the tasks that God gave them.

Acts 13:1-3

"[1] In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. [2] While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." [3] So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off."

Let us notice the following verses,

1-2 The Holy Spirit speaking through the prophets and teachers, that is elders, instructed them to set apart Barnabas and Saul.

3 The elders obeyed and laid their hands on them, that is commissioned or appointed them to their call.

We also find that the authority and ministry that God gave to Paul was also,

CONFIRMED BY OTHER APOSTLES

To see this let us read from the Scriptures of our theme,

Galatians 2:1-10

"[1] Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. [2] I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. [3] Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. [4] This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. [5] We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. [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."

Let us notice the following verses,

2 The Lord revealed to Paul that he should go to Jerusalem and submit his teachings to the elders. Paul did this to be sure, that is receive confirmation, that he was truly teaching and preaching the truth.

6 The elders in Jerusalem did not add anything to the message that Paul taught or preached.

7 The elders recognized that that God had entrusted to Paul the preaching and teaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles.

9 James, John and Peter confirmed God's call upon the life of Paul.

In addition to the laying on of hands and the confirmation by James, Peter and John, Paul's apostleship was also,

CONFIRMED BY GOD THROUGH SIGNS AND WONDERS

To see this let us read what God did through the Apostle Paul in the city of Ephesus. First we find that there was the,

BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Through the hands of Paul our Lord Jesus Christ baptized twelve believers in the Holy Spirit. This event is recorded for us in,

Acts 19:1-7

"[1] While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples [2] and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." [3] So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied. [4] Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." [5] On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. [6] When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. [7] There were about twelve men in all."

In addition we find that God did,

EXTRAORDINARY MIRACLES

This is recorded for us in,

Acts 19:11-12

"[11] God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, [12] so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them."

Finally we find that even,

THE DEMONS KNEW PAUL

To see this let us read about the time when the seven sons of Sceva tried to heal those who were possessed by demons. This event is recorded for us in,

Acts 19:13-16

"[13] Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." [14] Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. [15] One day the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" [16] Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding."

For this study let us reread verse 15.

Through all the signs and wonders we find that God brought about a great awakening in the city of Ephesus. Let us read about it in,

Acts 19:17-20

"[17] When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. [18] Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. [19] A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. [20] In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power."

Pretty impressive isn't it? After reading all the above confirmations it does tend to make one a believer in the authority of Paul doesn't it?

However, before we accept Paul's ministry and authority let us read the following,

WORDS OF CAUTION

We find that before our Lord's departure from this earth, He warned us that false prophets and christs will come to try and deceive us. Hence, we are cautioned to not be too quick to accept those who claim to be of our God. For example let us read from,

Matthew 24:23-24

"[23] At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. [24] For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible."

In reflecting upon the above warning one is left with the following,

Question: How can I know? How can I know the one who is sent by God and the one who isn't?

Our Lord Jesus Christ provides us with the answer to these questions in His parable of the tree and its fruit. It is recorded for us in,

Matthew 7:15-23

""[15] Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. [16] By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? [17] Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. [19] Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. [20] Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. [21] "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. [22] Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' [23] Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

Let us notice the following verses,

20 It is by their fruits that we will be able to determine whether or not a person is from God.

23 Even though signs and wonders may be present it is only those who do the will of God have been sent by Him.

This leaves us with the questions of: "What is the will of God? And What are the fruits by which we can determine whether or not a person is from Him?" Basically, our Lord Jesus Christ is teaching us that those who are His servants or in general His disciples are,

RECOGNIZED BY THE FRUITS OF THEIR LIVES

To see this let remember what Jesus said about the requirements for being a disciple of His. First of all Jesus tells us that,

WE ARE TO GIVE ALL TO HIM

Our Lord tells this to us in,

Matthew 16:24-27

"[24] Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. [25] For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. [26] What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? [27] For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done."

As we reflect upon the above we come to realize that our Lord is telling us that we are to love Him above all things, that is with our whole heart and soul and mind.

With this in mind, let us now go and see how this requirement of discipleship was fulfilled or being fulfilled in the life of Paul. To do this let us read the following excerpt from his letter to the Philippians,

Philippians 3:1-11

"[1] Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. [2] Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. [3] For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh-- [4] though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: [5] circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; [6] as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. [7] But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. [8] What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ [9] and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. [10] I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, [11] and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Let us notice the following verses,

3 We are not to have any confidence in the flesh, that is no confidence in religious legalistic traditions or rituals.

4-6 Here Paul provides us all the credentials that he had by his diligent observance to the religious requirements of the Jewish faith.

7- All these religious credentials for faith and self righteousness Paul gave up for the privilege to know and follow Jesus Christ.

8 Paul also considered the knowledge of and faith in Jesus Christ as the foremost priority in his life.

9 The only righteousness that Paul wanted was the righteousness that comes from God through faith in Jesus Christ.

10-11 Paul's only desire was to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. Thus, his desire was to attain eternal life through his faith in and love for Jesus Christ.

As we reflect upon what we just read let us see how the following parables were a living reality in the life of Paul.

Matthew 13:44-46

""[44] The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. [45] "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. [46] When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."

Let us now return to Paul's letter to the Philippians and continue our reading from,

Philippians 3:12-16

"[12] Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. [13] Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, [14] I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. [15] All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. [16] Only let us live up to what we have already attained."

Let us notice the following verses,

12-14 Paul was not self complacent and did not consider himself as arrived or already perfect. Instead, he recognized his need to press on toward the goal of eternal life. In other words, the Apostle Paul considered the Christian life as a journey. In this journey we are to become more and more Christ like as we yield and trust Him to live His life in and through us.

15-16 Let us reflect upon our own life and upon our commitment to Jesus Christ.

Thus we found that the Apostle Paul did indeed pick up his cross and followed Jesus.

The second and last requirement for being a disciple of Jesus Christ is for us to,

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

To see this let us read from,

John 13:34-35

""[34] A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. [35] By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.""

As we did with the picking up of one's cross, let us now go and see how this command was fulfilled and being fulfilled in the life of Paul. To begin let us read an excerpt from his first letter to the church in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

"[19] Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. [20] To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. [21] To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. [22] To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. [23] I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

Let us notice the following verses,

19 Paul served everyone.

20-22 In other words, he tried to relate to and sympathize with everyone.

23 He did this to share in the blessings of the Gospel.

In other words Paul cared. He was not interested in money, power, worldly forms of success or popularity. He was only interested in fostering the people's relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact this was the whole point of the following words that he gave in his second letter to the Corinthian church.

2 Corinthians 12:11-19

"[11] I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the "super-apostles," even though I am nothing. [12] The things that mark an apostle--signs, wonders and miracles--were done among you with great perseverance. [13] How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong! [14] Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. [15] So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? [16] Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! [17] Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent you? [18] I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not act in the same spirit and follow the same course? [19] Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening."

Let us notice the following verses,

11-12 Paul writes that the signs of an apostle, such as sign and wonders were performed.

13 Paul continued his letter by writing that he did not solicit their money.

14-15 Paul wrote that he was not after their possessions. He was only concerned about them and their relationship with Jesus Christ. He consider himself as their spiritual father. Consequently, he was willing to do whatever it takes to help them grow in their relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and hence, receive the salvation of their souls.

16 They were won over to the Christian faith by love.

17-18 Again we read of the same consistent walk of love that is characteristic of the true disciples of Jesus Christ.

19 All that Paul did was for the strengthening of those with whom he had contact.

SUMMARY

God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ chose Paul to be an apostle to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They confirmed their call through,

THE LAYING ON OF HANDS

We read this in,

Acts 13:3

"[3] So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off."

PETER, JAMES AND JOHN'S ACCEPTANCE

This was revealed to us in,

Galatians 2:7-9

"[7] , 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."

SIGNS AND WONDERS

We find this confirmation recorded for us in,

Romans 15:18-19

"[18] I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done-- [19] by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ."

HIS LIFE

However, as we just read, the most important confirmation of Paul's apostleship was the fruits of the Holy Spirit radiating in his life.

As we reflect upon all that we have covered in this study one might ask, "What is the point?" "What is the message to us?"

THE MESSAGE TO US

First of all we should listen to and obey the instructions that were given to us through the pen of Paul. Let us remember that these instructions came from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. To refresh our memories let us reread,

Galatians 1:11-12

"[11] I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. [12] I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ."

Secondly, we are to use the Apostle Paul as a role model for our walk with Jesus Christ. To see this let us read another excerpt from the letter that Paul wrote to the Philippians.

Philippians 3:17-4:1

"[17] Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. [18] For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. [19] Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. [20] But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, [21] who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

"[4:1]Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!"

Let us now close our study by reading the following word of exhortation from the Apostle Paul,

1 Corinthians 11:1

"[1] Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."

Shall We Pray?

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