InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Saturday & Sunday, November 27 & 28, 2010
Read | Galatians 1:11-17
1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Only One Gospel
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
Call to Apostleship
11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
Contacts at Jerusalem
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)
21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God in me.
After Paul’s conversion, he disappeared into the desert for three years, during which time the Holy Spirit instructed him in the ways of God. He emerged, ready to communicate divine truth.
The Lord speaks to believers so that they will comprehend the truth, conform to the truth, and communicate the truth. These same steps form a roadmap to discipleship. What happened during Paul’s desert years was only the beginning of a life-long process—God renewed his mind and transformed him into the image of Christ. For the apostle, that change began with connecting his rich biblical knowledge to the revelation that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.
Paul knew Scripture thoroughly, but the truth that Jesus was the promised Messiah made him reconsider the foundation he’d been trusting. Everything he knew about God had to be reevaluated in light of this new information. Paul had a history of wanting to please God, so the Holy Spirit no doubt found him a willing pupil.
The apostle’s spirit had to be shaped according to the Father’s will. And the Lord kept working on him long after Paul left the desert and began his ministry. Every person who reads his letters is a witness to the work of God in a submissive man.
The Lord’s discipleship roadmap looks similar for every believer. Like Paul, you are the Holy Spirit’s student, and the knowledge you reap from Scripture should be changing your life. Be like the apostle in this way too: become a disciple maker by sharing what you learn with others.