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Stats: 2,594,984 members, 6,019,765 topics. Date: Friday, 27 November 2020 at 09:52 PM
|How Paul Handled The Gospel by Hiswordxray(m): 9:12am On Nov 22|
How Paul Handled The Gospel (Part 1).
We have to understand what the gospel truly is. We simply cannot continue like this. If you look at all of Paul's letters, it always starts with unveiling Christ. After he has used like 65% of that letter to unveil Christ, then the remaining 35% will be used to explain the proper response to the sighting of this unveiled Christ. Or rather he paints a picture of how practically living in the this Christ looks like. Look at Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, they all follow the same pattern.
Let me start from Romans, because Romans is the largest letter he wrote. While writing this letter Paul had never been to the ecclesia in Rome before. He could not go to Rome for many years because Jews were ban from Rome. But Emperor Nero lifted that ban. This resulted to the Jews — especially those who are Christian, both old convert and new convert — returned back to Rome. After returning back, they had to gather together and form an ecclesia.
Nobody planted the ecclesia in Rome. It was more like a transplanted ecclesia, because people that were planted in other ecclesia all over the Greco-Roman world came together to form an ecclesia in Rome. By looking at this background story you will understand why this letter is very lengthy and why the content. Paul was writing to an ecclesia he didn't planted, an ecclesia he had never visited before. This is his first sermon or teaching to this ecclesia, so he had to include everything he believe they should know about the gospel.
He started the letter by explaining that we are justified simply by faith in Christ. Just as Abraham believed God and that faith was counted to him as righteousness, so also have we all been declared righteous because we believe in Jesus. Then he moved on to explain that we don't have to worry about the issue of sin and death, for it has been dealt with on the cross. Sin is no longer an issue, so let's talk about Christ and the righteous in him. However, Paul recognized that some people would still not be ready to let go of the issue of sin, they will still want to fight sin with the Law, rules and regulations, don't and dos.
So in chapter 7 he tried to demonstrate how the law, rules and regulations, don't and dos, only make things worse. They don't help at all.
"I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died." (Rom 7:9).
Without the law he was alive, but the moment the law came he died. The law made everything worse. This is because once sin sees the law it holds a revival meeting and begins to burn with a renewed passion. I pray God will help you understand that.
As a result of death in man's members, man has become naturally rebellious. The moment you tell him that something is bad and that he shouldn't do it, that is when a passion to do that thing will just arise from within him. He would suddenly realise that everything inside of him just want to do that thing that you said he shouldn't do.
"And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway." (Rom 7:18-19).
You are not helping matters by telling man that "this thing is right do it, and this thing is bad don't do it". You are only making things worse. Stop it, just stop it! So what then should we tell man to help them overcome sin? This is where Paul brings us to chapter 8 as he begins to tell us about the reality in Christ. He started explaining the laws and the reality that is in Christ, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:2). He began describing a whole new reality, a new creation that operates with a different law than the old creation.
In essence, Paul was saying, what you are supposed to tell Christians, the only thing we are supposed to discuss is the reality in Christ. Forget the issue of sin, that is no longer a problem. Forget don't and dos, rules and regulations, they only makes things worse. Focus on teaching and describing the reality in Christ. In Christ you are not struggling to be righteous, rather you effortlessly doing righteous things because it is who you are. Tell them who they are in Christ and teach them how to walk in that reality.
|Re: How Paul Handled The Gospel by Hiswordxray(m): 9:12am On Nov 22|
How Paul Handled The Gospel (Part 2)
I am not saying you shouldn't tell them anything about what's right and what's wrong. All that can be emphasized later. Your first goal as a minister of the gospel is to establish the believers in the reality of Christ. Let them know the reality in Christ, let them become awaken to this reality, let them come to a point where they are interacting with this reality, teach them how to navigate the reality of Christ and manifest its infinite dimensions. Only after you have done a considerable amount of work on this can you move on to other things.
We read the letter of Paul and we see things, "women submit to your husband, and husband love your wife, do not be drunk with wine, fornication is a sin, child obey your parents, etc", and then we assume this is the main he taught, or this is what the gospel is about. We forget that he had spent months and even years establishing this people in the reality in Christ, teaching them nothing else but Christ.
"For while I was with you I was determined to be consumed with one topic—Jesus, the crucified Messiah." (1Cor 2:2).
Paul preached no other topic than Christ for months and decades. He didn't teach don't and dos, he didn't teach holiness and sanctification (in the reality in Christ we are already holy and sanctified), he didn't teach eschatology and mysteries. No, he focused on one thing only, and that is unveiling Christ. It is only when Christ have been properly unveiled and the people have become awakened to his reality that they will have the grace to do what is right and avoid the wrong things.
"May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord." (2Per 1:2).
You get more grace as you grow in the knowledge of God. Therefore, abandoning the revelation of Christ to teach people what is right and what is wrong is a very terrible thing to do because they now know they have to this thing and not do that thing but there is no power in them do follow through with the rules and regulations. As such they end up in frustration, they begin to feel God has set a standard for them that they cannot meet, and they are overwhelmed with that feeling of being a failure.
Those that have some measure of success had ended up doing these by the works of the flesh. Anything that the flesh does produces death. If it tries to do righteousness, it produces a filty righteousness, a dead thing. When it tries to submit to her husband it does it carnally and such a carnal submissiveness ends up producing problems one way or another in the relationship. When it tries to be humble it does it in a dirty way. When it love, it is a selfish love. Everything the flesh does produces more death.
Hence, you need to get the people from the flesh into the reality in Christ. As long as they are in the flesh, whatever rules and regulations you give them, they will end up doing it in a way that it produces death. Jesus came to give life and give it abundantly (John 10:10). The goal of the gospel is to give life, not to produce more death. So if you are handling the gospel in a way that it is producing more death in the life of people, then you are doing the gospel a great disservice. So get them established in the reality in Christ so that they will produce life in every of their actions.
Paul spent months or years unveiling the reality in Christ to this people. Then he would leave them for months or years so that they grow into this reality. After that he would require of their progress and write letters certain issues about how they have been manifesting the reality in Christ. These letters would first of all remind them of the reality in Christ before addressing issues on how this reality is meant to be lived out. This is like the job of a gardener who comes to plant the seeds and allow it grow first before coming back to intervene by trimming the plants in order to allow healthy growth.
We must understand that when it comes to Christ we are dealing with life. As such our approach should be the approach of one dealing with life. Focus on building life in people through the gospel, then observe how that life grows, and if necessary do the necessary adjustments. The gospel is not about don't and dos, rules and regulations, right and wrongs. It is about life, and when we start treating the gospel this way, we are bound to see more progress and manifestation of Christ in the life of believers.
|Re: How Paul Handled The Gospel by GforGee: 10:57am On Nov 22|
I like how you have tried to establish the truth and facts of the faith. I hope people will continue to hear the Gospel truth as preached by Jesus, the Apostles and Paul.
Many people refuse the Gospel today because they feel it gives them a set of rules to follow, and this problem comes from the preachers of the Word who themselves have no clear understanding of the Word.
May God lead us into all truth and feed us daily with His words that we may grow thereby.
Jesus is Lord. We win.
|Re: How Paul Handled The Gospel by Hiswordxray(m): 4:15pm On Nov 22|
GforGee:Yes dear, if we take the right approach towards the gospel then we would definitely see greater result. Christianity is unlike any other religion in the world. It is firstly about completeness and rest, not rules and regulations.
|Re: How Paul Handled The Gospel by hashtagged: 8:28pm On Nov 22|
Bro I feel you, after reading Paul's words I feel Paul even though never meeting Jesus is one of the pet who really understood him.
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