The Gospel According to Paul
Galatians 1:11-12 and Acts 13:16-41
10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
We talked last week about how Paul defends “his gospel” in the book of Galatians. The fact is that this is the central issue of the book since Paul tells us that folks have troubled the people of Galatia by trying to get them to turn to a different gospel. The reality is that there is only one gospel. It is what is true about Jesus Christ and His work providing grace for those who will believe and follow Him. And so, if someone is propagating a different gospel, they must be motivated, not by God, but by other people. And so Paul says in v. 10 that he is not serving men, but rather He received his understanding of the gospel through revelation from Jesus Christ.
Since Paul is defending the gospel as presented to the Galatians, the question that I have is, “Do we have an example of what he would have said to them?” And the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
And that is what Acts 13 contains. This is Paul at Antioch. This, or something similar, is what he would have said in his meetings at the synagogue in all of the churches in Galatia. So, what is the “gospel according to Paul?”
16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:
“Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 19 And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ 23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’
26 “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. 27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28 And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,
“‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you.’
34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,
“‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’
35 Therefore he says also in another psalm,
“‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’
36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:
41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”
- Who is Jesus of Nazareth?
- Connection to Old Testament Promises
Connection to Moses
Humility, service, intercession, deliverer, many personal connections. Giver of the law, light, grace etc. Connected people to God.
Connection to the Exodus and Wilderness:
Passover lamb, Manna, Rock that gave water, snake lifted up on a pole etc. etc.
Connection to the Judges
Deliverance from enemies.
Connection to the Prophets
Corrective information, he fits the puzzle of Messiah.
Isaiah 53 for example Psalms 22 for example.
Paul doesn’t mention it here, but he does in Gal 3, there is the connection to Abraham and his fundamental promises.
16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is
29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs ccording to promise.
Paul’s point: Jesus fulfills the promises of God to the Jewish people.
- Jesus is prophetically connected to David
This is important because of the promised Messiah who the Jews were looking for.
David was the king at the height of the political power of the Jewish people. He was a mighty warrior.
But, that is not what Paul emphasized. Because it is not the warrior aspect of Messiah that Jesus fulfills.v.22 Paul emphasizes that fact that David was a man after God’s heart who would “do all of My will.” And this perfectly describes Jesus’ life on earth.
By the way, what was David’s greatest impact? Was it his military victories or his psalm writing?
Psalms 40:7-8 7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
- Jesus is the long expected Messiah
v.23 23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.
- Proofs that Jesus was Messiah
- Biblical testimony
Prophecy concerning Jesus. I have mentioned some of this already, Paul fixes on the verses written by David seemingly about himself, but more obviously fulfilled by Jesus.
- You are my Son, today I have begotten you.
- You will not allow Your Holy One to see decay.
(a reference to the Resurrection of Jesus)
Just as an aside, you notice Paul does not mention Jesus’ miracles as a proof of Who He was. The Jews dismiss those as demonic. But as a person who has done some studying of history, Ethelbert Stauffer an author Dr. Inch introduced me to talks about the easiest kind of historical facts to be sure of. And what he says is that if the winners and the losers of history agree on facts, those facts are the most assured. If friends and enemies agree, you can be pretty sure somebody is not trying to pull a fast one. Jesus’ friends and Jesus enemies agree that He did miracles.
- John the Baptist’s testimony
John the Baptist is a big deal in the first century!
- 400 years of silence broken by John’s obvious prophetic ministry.
- People recognized him as a flesh and blood Old Testament prophet.
- There is the expectation of the “Elijah” who was to come.
About John, Paul says: 24 Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’
- Apostolic testimony
30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus,
Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. This was according to Old Testament prophecy and done as a sacrifice of atonement! The veil is torn in two. Soon all temple sacrifices will cease. Jesus is the Passover lamb, the scapegoat, the candlestick, the showbread etc. etc.
Some complain that those testifying were just Jesus’ supporters. But who is Paul?
III. Is Jesus Your Saving Messiah?
- Jesus is the promised Savior
23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.
38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.
Forgiveness of sins
Completely justified before God. (Gift of righteousness)
God made Him sin who knew no sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
Reconciled relationship with God
- Jesus was rejected by the Jews in Jerusalem
That fact is also connected to prophecy v.41
And if you reject who Jesus is and do not trust and follow Him, then He will not save you from your sins. You will bear them to God yourself. Three sins a day illustration.
- Will Jesus be rejected by you too?
“For I am doing a work in your days that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.”
This is exactly where Paul is with these people. They have an opportunity to believe and follow Jesus just like we have an opportunity to believe and follow Jesus. We can build our lives around obedience to His teachings and example. That is what it means to follow Him.
Whose voice or testimony will we listen to? Will we listen to the Apostles and understand that Jesus is the Messiah, proved by His Resurrection from the dead and therefore His ministry of forgiveness and reconciliation with God is confirmed?
Or will we listen to other voices that contradict the testimony about who Jesus is and what He did? It matters who we listen to!