A Nugget from New Life Network
Scripture for the Day (February 13, 2017)
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 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. (Galatians 1:10-12)
The Apostle Paul was one of the most powerful and prolific writers of the New Testament. Fourteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament have been attributed to Paul. In addition, fifty percent of the Book of Acts is devoted to the life and works of Paul. Scholars have said that Paul’s teachings have been the most influential Christian writings of all time and that no single event, except for the birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ, has proved so important for the cause of Christianity as the conversion and commissioning of Paul.
With that said, it would probably behoove us to take note of some of the personal beliefs and actions of Paul. Keep in mind, this was a man (before conversion) that persecuted, jailed, and even participated in the stoning to death of Christians. The following are just a few critical scriptures that give us some insight into the way Paul (the new man) thought and operated:
He never forgot where he came from – For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. (Philippians 3:3-7)
He knew and stressed the importance of being led by the Spirit – For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: ( 1 Corinthians 2:4)
He practiced and taught the importance of, and the proper use of, the gifts of the Spirit – I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: (1 Corinthians 14:18) How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. (1 Corinthians 14:26) Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. (1 Corinthians 14:39)
He never forgot that he was a work in progress – Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
He was not merely a hearer of the Word but a doer – But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
He was not ashamed of the Gospel or the power of prayer and praise – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16) And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. (Acts 16:22-26)
Paul went from having total confidence in the flesh to having no confidence in the flesh; from relying on religion to relying on the Holy Spirit; from persecuting Christians to being persecuted; and from spiritual bondage to spiritual freedom. Only Jesus can cause that type of heart and life change and He is still doing those same things today!
The Healing, Filling, and Baptizing of Paul – And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. (Acts 9: 17-22)