Have you ever thought about those who have gone before you and brought the gospel to someone who shared it with someone and then someone had children and grandchildren and shared it with them and then the next generation shared it with the next generation until it came down to you? It is a mind blower when you think about it! Because I am not a Jew but a Gentile I feel the need to thank the Apostle Paul for all his work among the Gentiles. Most likely it is someone who learned from him that passed it on to the future generations like dominoes until it came to me. So thank you Paul! Where do I get this wild idea?
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 2: 1-5, (English Standard Version or ESV).
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12, (ESV).
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Ephesians 3:1-6, (ESV).
Have you ever seen Paul face-to-face? Me neither, so I guess he is talking to us in the first passage as well as the Laodicea Christians. The Apostle Paul was the primary apostle to the known Gentile world of his day. He was the Billy Graham of his time and he spent many years planting churches and bodies of believers who were not Jewish. It is most likely that whoever in my genetic pool of ancestors heard about Jesus Christ would have heard it from someone who heard it from someone who heard it from Paul or one of his trained leaders and teachers.
I am thankful to Paul for being so faithful in spreading the gospel; the mystery finally revealed that Gentiles would be grafted into God’s tree of life. I am thankful that Paul faced hardships and beatings and ridicule and starvation and all the negative things he tells us happened to him so that we could hear the truth about Jesus Christ today. I am rejoicing in being able to know that I am saved and that I am now one of God’s children. This is a great reason to rejoice. So thank you Paul, thank you for your sacrifice and your prayers and your battle and your life and your teachings written down for me to read today. Thank you for being a servant of the Great Commission left to all of us from our Lord Christ Jesus.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20, (ESV).
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:44-49, (ESV).
The Apostle Paul didn’t receive his commission to go and proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles when the other apostles received this revelation of knowledge, his conversion came later, (Acts 9). I am thankful that Paul had the grit and stamina to be that missionary to Gentiles. The other disciples did go where the Holy Spirit led them, but Paul’s writings survived more than any of the others. I think that is why I can give Paul credit for telling me about Jesus. Paul had the educational background to debate and his logic was well laid out in his letters as well. I am glad that Jesus chose Paul as the Gentile missionary! God be glorified!
So what about today? Who is passing on to the next generations the truth of the Gospel? Who is making sure that truth is not watered down? Who is keeping the purity of truth in this generation? There are many who are going about every week preparing their studies and their sermons today. There are many unsung heroes who are preaching the gospel in all parts of the world today, including in my own church and yours as well. Do we thank them for the time they put into their studies? Do we thank them for teaching the tough and unpopular with our culture the truth of the Gospel today? Do we appreciate them and the sacrifices made by their families? We should!
What are you doing to bring the truth of the Gospel to the next generation in your family, in your community, in your church, in your country and beyond your borders? I am no super-saint and I will be the first to admit that I am not doing my fair share of the work. I have devotions with my young son every week morning before he goes to school. I make sure he gets to Sunday School and Church. I talk about God with my adult children and I encourage them to remain faithful to what they have been taught and to seek out truth in scripture. I don’t know if they are or if they just tolerate my words because I am their Mom. But I try to encourage them. I pray for them as well, every day. I write this blog to encourage all of you to be faithful as well. I give tithes and offerings and support missions through my church. I listen to the Bible online through BibleGateway, here’s the link. https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/audio/ I also study with the books from my personal library as well as online. I make blankets and sweaters and such for some mission organizations that are sent to orphans and elderly care homes. But somehow I feel the need deep within my heart to do more. I want to hear what some of you are doing, so please comment to give me some ideas for serving Christ where you are. Thanks!
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24, (ESV).
Paul’s words here are ringing in my ears. I believe that since these words are at the ending of his teaching about submission and how parents, children, wives, and husbands and slaves are to behave toward one another and serve each other with gladness that his point is to live life as if we live and work for Jesus. I try to live as if Jesus is in my home because I know that the Holy Spirit resides in me and in my son. I know that Jesus and God see everything that I do, every thought and motive will be analyzed and counted for good or not good. One day judgement comes to us all and I know that. I think that is why I appreciate Paul’s writings.
Paul taught so many people and I am so thankful for his letters that have survived and now are in the Bible. God wanted you and me to read those letters even though Paul intended them for his generation. God gave Paul the words to write and the teachings to proclaim so I guess when you think about it I need to thank God more than Paul. I just want to say thank you God for bringing Paul to Christ and for his ministry to so many.
Until next time…Katherine