Paul's Pastoral Appeal

Paul's Pastoral Appeal

Scripture: Galatians 4:12, Philippians 3:7-9, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Date: 11/26/2011  Lesson: 9
Paul makes a personal appeal to the Galatians based on their previous relationship and his pastoral love for them.

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Welcome this morning to Sacramento seventh day adventist church. We are glad you are joining us to study this morning. To study God's Word in depth. And we know that you will receive a blessing by tuning in and following along and learning more of God's Word. We are going to be singing this morning.

I invite you to take out your hymnals. We're going to sing hymn #534 - will your anchor hold. This comes as a request from caitlin and Mark in California, beryl and julian in england, debra in florida, clive in jamaica, rachel in Montana, judy, bill, sandie, and vern in North Carolina, henry in saudi arabia, xolani in south africa, tito and alma in South Dakota, and katherine in Virginia. Hymn #534 - will your anchor hold. We will sing the first, the third and the fifth verses.

One of my favorite lines in that song is 'fastened to the rock which cannot move' - cannot. It's not will not or might not, it's cannot. And I so appreciate that about the reliability of God and his promises. Aren't you - I am this morning so thankful. If you have a special Christmas request that you would like to send in, that we can sing with you, I invite you to do that.

We have been forgetting to tell you that it's Christmas time at sac central already and you have one week to do it - next week is the cutoff. So hurry up and request your Christmas hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming broadcast and we will do that with you. You just go to saccentral.org, click on the 'contact us' link, and there you can request your hymns that you'd like to sing with us. Our next hymn is one of my favorites - it is well with my soul - hymn #530. This comes as a request from greg in ArKansas, kirk, Joshua, Karen, heath, lynden, ashleigh, and wayne in australia, sednette in the bahamas, pedro and keith in barbados, sherle, viena, milcah and elmyr in California, g.

g. In florida, bob and Paula in Idaho, andriy in india, joyann in New York, wayne, phyllis, vern, and sandie in north carolina, ofelia, eliseo jr., Legesse, shirly and bemnet in the Philippines, eloe in qatar, samantha in saint vincent and the grenadines, freddy and sandy in the Solomon islands, donghae and Josephy in south korea, and gerri in trinidad and tobago. Hymn #530 - it is well with my soul - and we will sing all three verses. Let's pray. Lord, thank you so much that we can come here and sing it is well with my soul.

Things are not well on this planet and you know it. And you know that you are about to come and get us so Lord just keep us hidden in you - fastened to the rock that cannot, cannot move. And that we will soon be in glory with you. We are so grateful. So please, as we study Your Word this morning, Lord, just help us to take these words to our hearts - to live them out as we leave this place - that we can - others can see you in us, that we will glorify and lift you up and others will be drawn to you because they have seen Jesus in us.

We pray these things in your precious name, Jesus, amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by pastor mike thompson and he is the health and outreach pastor here at Sacramento central. Thank you ladies, jolyne and debbie. And Happy Sabbath everybody. God is good is he not? Very good.

This morning I was in my little prayer place up on an hill - it's called telegraph hill - it's about half a mile from where I live and I can actually see - when it's a clear morning - I can actually see the high rise buildings of Sacramento, so it's a nice place to go and talk to the Lord. This morning, of course, it was dark. I like to go when it's dark and I come down when the sun is shining. And I come down a different person than the one that crawled up the hill. But that's what grace does for us.

We're on lesson #9 this week - the Gospel in Galatians - and it's called Paul's pastoral ideal. So, we're looking at Paul's pastoral appeal. There's a memory verse from Galatians and it says, "friends, I beg you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are." We're going to kind of look at what that means in a few moments, but first of all, Paul's pastoral appeal. Paul was not only a teacher and a preacher and a theologian - and I'm going to repeat that in a while - but he was also a shepherd. He had a heart for the flock of God.

It's one thing, you know, to go out and find people, it's another thing - just as important - to take care of them once you've brought them into the fold. Some years back I was in an institution of learning and there was a ministerial student there and he was a really good preacher. I mean he - I was jealous of him - he was really good. He was fiery, you know? And he'd open the Word of God and he could expound on the prophecies and he had some serious talent given to him of God. And I used to sit back and think, 'oh, you know, what an evangelist you will be.

' And then some time after that he was doing, as part of his program, a myster - a mysterious - a ministerial - it is mysterious sometimes, a ministerial internship. And he was working with a pastor going around to the flock, seeing how they were, caring for the sick ones, those who were depressed and those who were struggling. That's how it is most of the time actually. And he got back one afternoon after being with the pastor of the flock and I says, 'how are you doing?' So then he said, 'oh man,' he said, 'this stuff, you know, just being a pastor' - he wanted to be an evangelist - and that's fine, God calls us to do different things, but remember, if any of us here have a desire to be an evangelist - stand up here with the lights on you - Pastor Doug is not like this by the way. I'm not talking about him.

I know him very well. I know his heart. If anybody has any ideas, especially young men, of being an evangelist and trailblazing for Jesus, then you follow that call, but just remember this: that the sheep that he brings to you, you're obliged to take care of them. That means stepping out of the limelight. That means coming down off the podium.

It means often going to a place where there's no audience, just you and the soul, and there may not be much glory or limelight in that, but that is as much part of what God has called us to do as anything else. God looks at that. So Paul - we see another side of Paul today, this pastoral side of him. And he says, 'friends, I beg you become as I am because I also have become as you are.' And so, I'm going to Sunday - the heart of Paul. And as I mentioned a few moments ago, he was a divinely gifted teacher, preacher, theologian, evangelist, administrator - but just as much a very faithful shepherd to the flock that God had used Paul to bring in to the fold.

And being a faithful shepherd after the example of his Savior - that's what Paul was - he wanted to follow the example of Jesus, his Savior. And Jesus himself, of course, was the shepherd. He sets the example for everybody. And so, Paul was not just interested in enlarging the flock of God. He had a heart to tend to the flock that God also put in his care.

To take care of their spiritual well being, to make sure they were nurtured, that on an ongoing basis they were protected and defended from negative influences. When they were being tried, to comfort them, to encourage them to keep up the good fight. And, of course, to guard them as far as possible from ravening wolves that would come in dressed as sheep. You know the thing I'm talking about - ravening wolves - Paul said that would come and not spare in the flock. And this was one of the things that happened, of course, in the churches of galatia.

This is what caused Paul a lot of consternation and grief, because he'd gone through there and through the grace of God and with some help, he'd established some of these churches and they seemed to be going good and then he went on his way and next thing, would you know it, these what we might call judaizers - judaizing Christians follow in his footsteps telling the people, 'yes, Jesus is all well and good, but you must go back to the law of Moses.' And they brought in such things as circumcision and they laid this burden upon the new believers and Paul - you can almost imagine him going 'oh no!' And he knew because he'd been in that kind of a walk himself. He'd been a law man, if you like, very sincere. But, you know, when he was there watching the stoning of stephen, he was there not with a shepherd's heart, but with the heart of an exactor. To see this young man pay the price for just seemingly casting aside the law of Moses and just having this very liberal religion that said you believe in Jesus. Terrible stuff.

So he was more than happy to stand there and watch this young man stoned. So Paul had been down that path and when he hears of these judaizers going out to the churches of galatia, to bring them back under this yoke - the salvation through works - just cut him like a knife. And you heard me say before that error never sanctifies and it doesn't. So somebody may come into any church, this church, with a religious zeal - they may be very articulate, very pleasing, can put forward a good argument, but we need to check that argument and no matter how interesting it might seem or how fascinating or how powerful it may seem with the way that they present it. If it's not truth it will never sanctify.

This is why you can find in this world churches where they're so animated. And they're up there with the music and the crying and reaching out. But the truth that sanctifies is not at work, it's emotionalism. And no matter how powerful that experience is, it will never sanctify. You come out of the church and once those feeling wear off, you've still got to deal with the temptations of the daily life.

And that nice piece of music that put you on a cloud, it's gone and bang! You fall. So, error never sanctifies. So anyway, here's Paul. He's realized he's got to defend and protect the flock from these seducing sentiments. And we can barely comprehend his disappointment and sorrow as this stuff began to plague the churches in galatia that he had worked so hard to establish.

There are people today who, I don't blame them for this, they have many things to mourn about. A lot of us here because of the downturn in the economy - losing jobs - that's not a small thing. See your investments go down, retirement funds wiped out, property values - I'm in one of those brackets but I don't care about it. For 36 hours I was a rich man. Money came in the bank to get a down payment on a house, it was gone within 36 hours - I might as well have just not got it in the first place because the house is quite a bit under water.

But Jesus is going to take care of me - I don't worry about that. But to a lot of people, especially who don't know Jesus, this is a most mournful, sad, grievous time. Their hopes, their dreams are just shattered and they see nothing else on the horizon. All these things are cruelly stolen away. But the greater grief that anybody can have, like Paul, is the greater grief of a soul winner, who sees these precious souls brought to Jesus, and souls are hard won, but they can be so easily lost.

You bring them to Jesus and they're doing good and you kind of leave and you're praying for them - 'I'll be back' - and in the meantime somebody moves in and they're being led astray. It just cut at Paul's heart. And it cut at his heart especially because - have you heard that saying? How does it go? Those who love the most can get hurt the most. You know that saying? Have you heard a saying like that? It's the people who are indifferent, who really don't care about other people - when other people meet bad fortune - 'oh, it's just too bad.' But when you put your heart out there, as God puts his heart out, as Jesus put his heart out, as Paul put his heart out, you become very vulnerable. You don't build walls - you can't build walls if you're going to win souls to Jesus.

You put yourself out there and you can get hurt. But if you do, Jesus knows what it's like. And Paul knows what it's like, because if you invest your love as Paul did, in the churches of galatia and in the corinthian church and ephesus, and so on, you're going to get wounded. But wounded as he was, he cherished not anger toward the Galatians for their folly, instead his heart was filled with pitying love. And he who had gone through what he described as labor pains, to have a part in, as it were, bringing them into this world as Christians, he now had pains again with a desire to see Christ formed in them once more - to see them delivered from this galling yoke of legalism.

Galatians 4:19 - he says, "my little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be found in you." I trust that some of you know what I'm talking about tonight. If you've got children - if you've teenagers especially - you've invested so much into their lives, brought them to church, to Sabbath school, and all those things and then suddenly they turn around and - it hurts, right? Don't give up. Keep praying. But it goes even deeper with this - with Paul's grief for what happened here. Paul's love and compassion for his gentile friends is equally expressed, I believe, in his words of a few years later when he wrote to the Romans regarding also his longing to save his fellow jews that they might also be saved.

Paul, you know, he was still a jew and he carried a burden for the gentiles and he also carried a burden as well for those that were his same physical seed in jewry. Romans 9 - if someone would like to read Romans 9, verses 1 - 3. If you would do that, I would appreciate it. Romans 9:1-3. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the holy ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen, according to the flesh." Thank you very much sue, I appreciate that. So what's Paul saying here? This is the same burden he really had for the Galatians. He was willing to be cursed. Do you know what he's saying there? To be separate. To be eternally separated from Israel.

He is willing to forfeit his own eternal life that the Romans - sorry, his own people, the jews might come to Christ. Well, a lot of them did, of course, Paul was a jew and the first part of the Christian church, they were all jews, but of course then it went out to the gentiles as well. But Paul had this desire that his Jewish brethren were also under this galling yoke of legalism, that they might be brought out from under that and experience the beauty of that freedom in Jesus Christ - to find righteousness through faith in Christ and receive the power of the Holy Spirit to kind of seal that experience. And a lot of these jews, you know, they had no time for Paul now. They thought he was crazy, they thought he was a raving liberal who'd gone out of his mind - but he had such a burden for his own countrymen and he was willing, if necessary, to be cursed for their sake.

Do you feel like that about anybody? Do you feel like that about a group of people? I wish I could say that I did, but I'll be honest today, I'm not. I'm not that much of a Christian. I'm just being honest with you. But, this is all the more reason why I need Jesus - to give me that heart that is willing - that I'd be willing to just lose it all. I'm not there yet but, by the grace of God, I want to be.

That's where he was. I forgot to bring it with me this morning, but the seventh day adventist Bible commentary dealing with Exodus - Genesis and Exodus - there's a comment there, and I didn't bring it so I can't read it, but it goes something like this: Paul was somewhat like - well, let me - see if you can guess - was there somebody else who was willing to be cursed, if you like, and his name scratched out of the book of life for the sake of his people? Moses - Moses, the same thing. And look what a hard time he had as well, with his own people the Hebrews. There was rebellion, there was criticism, when everything was going fine, everything was fine, but if anything went wrong, they would come to him. 'Why did you come to Egypt and tell us about this?' You know, 'why have you led us out here? Are you sure God is really in this thing?' He went through the same thing.

And it was right after one of their biggest rebellions - remember, he'd been up the mount for a time and they just couldn't hold off. They took their clothes off, they had aaron build this golden calf and they're just dancing around it - just right there under the summit of sinai. You could actually see the cloud on the top. You might think, 'oh, we'd never do that.' How do you know? Our heart is just as fallen in its natural state. And so, God is angry, righteous anger and he tells Moses, 'step aside.

' Moses says, 'Lord, you can't do that.' How dare he say 'you can't do that'? 'Lord, what will the nations think about you? You brought this people through the red sea and now you're going to wipe them out?' Well, did God know what Moses - the argument that Moses was going to bring? Of course he did, and it pleased God, because he saw he had a servant that had a heart for his people. And it pleases God when he sees that we have a heart for his flock. Especially the flock, when they're suffering, and you don't always know who's suffering. You need to pray and say, 'Lord, is there somebody in this congregation that you want me to help? Show me.' You'll be surprised who may be going through some tough things, but they put their face on when they come to church and they're just longing for somebody to give them a word of kindness and sympathy and pray with them. I know.

So yes, Paul was very much like Moses, very commendable. And as I say, I wish I had that heart and that kind of a mind set but, by the grace of God, I know I can if I more fully surrender to Jesus. And that's how Paul was. Since he had this intimate encounter with Christ on the road to damascus - there he was breathing out thunder - I think that what it actually says in acts - he was breathing out thunder. He had letters from the high priest to go and take these people and just throw them in jail and even have them executed by some means or another.

And he was on the road to damascus and there was this flash of light - he falls down on his knees and he hears the voice of Jesus. He says, 'Paul - Saul, why are you persecuting me?' He must have been shaking in his boots. Here he is, he knows that Jesus, who he's been persecuting, has the right now to just wipe him out. But he doesn't, and he gets a glimpse of this tremendous love that Christ has for him and it just turns his life around. So he goes to where he needs to go for three days, you know, sitting there with his scales on his eyes and he has a lot to think about.

After three days his friend comes and prays and anoints him - the scales fall off and it was a blind Paul that walked down that road to damascus and he stayed blind for three days, but when those scales came off it was another Paul, because he saw things totally, totally differently. And his heart was made one with all the - all the children of God - he was made one with all the people of this earth. We're all God's children, everybody, whether people recognize it or not. We're all his children, it's just that some are saved and some are lost. And it's God's purpose to save them all.

And Paul realized now, 'yes, I'm a jew.' Of the heart - he was a brahman of the brahmans, if I can use that terminology, manjeet. He was a brahman of the brahmans. But he realized now that he was a servant and everybody, including him were all on the same level. And so, he's changed. And so, Paul's letter to the galatian churches was not addressed to - we're in Monday now, by the way - was not addressed to any issues of moral - immoral or disorderly behavior - well, there had to be some, of course, but that was not the main thrust.

He was not addressing unbecoming behavior for those who claimed to be disciples of Christ, his letter was to confront something - and we've already alluded to this - something very much the opposite, and that was this theology that had come in on a tidal wave with these judaizers, telling the people, the Galatians, the only way you can have right standing is to yes, go ahead and believe in Jesus, but you must be circumcised according to the law of Moses and some of these other things with which they embellished their theology. And whether it was - now some people have argued about Galatians - is it the moral law, or is it the ceremonial law? Well, I believe it's both. And if you look at the context you can see sometimes it's both - sometimes it's one and sometimes it's the other. In fact, there was a little disagreement with some of this stuff back in 1888, and Ellen white finally said after the fact, she said it's both. So, whether it was the moral law, the ten commandment law, the decalogue as it's sometimes called, or the ceremonial law with its redundant appendages, they were embroiled in this as a way of becoming acceptable to God and this brought Paul a lot of grief.

Now, while Paul explains all this in his letter, through very sound, biblical argument, he also presents a very eye-catching - what shall I say - that very eye-catching and irrefutable body of evidence to illustrate the difference between someone who has previously sought righteousness through works and somebody now who has obtained righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. And the one he presents as this body of evidence and as a living example is himself. This is why he says to his friends there, 'become as I am. Become as I am.' Now, you know in one place Paul goes through his pedigree where he says he was a brahman of the brahmans - he says, 'I was a jew circumcised on the eighth day, gone to the best schools, sat at the feel of gamaliel.' All of these things - 'as touching the law' he said, 'blameless.' In other words was he good at legalism? He was very good. There was a law and he could actually say that he kept its precepts.

He really strove and yet, he was as destitute as the Christian virtues - as anybody could be. He was as destitute of salvation as anybody could be. He was alienated from the Christ that he professed to look for as somebody on the dark side of the moon. And he says, 'this is where I was.' And he says, 'I want you to become as I am.' And so he goes on to explain all this. And I want to give you an example.

We're looking here at a state of being - being as I am. Let's go to Galatians chapter 2 and verse 20 please. And I'd like somebody to read that. Galatians chapter 2 and verse 20. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

" Thank you very much, ray. He's speaking here about being in a state of being and he's telling his friends, 'be as I am. Be in the same state of being as I am.' And he says, 'I am' - state of being in the present - 'I am crucified with Christ.' He's speaking of being in a state of death through crucifixion. What kind of a death and to what? The death of his sinful behavior. He's in this state of being where his sinful behavior is crucified.

He's not saying, 'I was crucified with Christ in the past.' He's not saying, 'I'm going to be crucified with Christ in the future.' He says, 'in the present I am crucified.' It's written in the sense that it is a - in Greek there's terms for these kinds of things. I've forgotten all my Greek - most of it. I've got the books but I've forgotten most of it. But it's kind of like 'I'm here now' and it's a kind of a tense where 'I'll remain in this.' That's the best I can do for you with a Greek lesson this morning. But as long as we understand it and that is what the grace of God can do.

What he does one moment, he can replicate the next. And he can keep us in a state of righteousness. But the main point here that he's trying to make - it was not through his own futile human efforts that such a state of being can be arrived at through works of the law. And then further down, in Galatians 2:21, if somebody would read verse 21. "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

" Thank you very much. Thank you very much. What did he say? He said, 'do not frustrate the grace of God.' Frustrate the grace of God. If you could personify grace - well, Jesus is the personification of grace and so is God. But imagine his grace and it's waiting to do its work and grace is getting frustrated.

It's waiting to come into this person here and I'm getting all frustrated because he won't let me come in and do the work that I need to do. I'm not speaking about you personally Michael. But God puts up with a lot of frustration. He has all this power available to transform us and he just has to be patient and wait until this person here gets it, hopefully, so that faith and grace can do its work. He says, 'I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law then Christ is dead in vain.

' Now, as we know, the Galatians are in the process of frustrating the grace of God in seeking righteousness through their works - moral law or ceremonial law - and so, Paul is here pleading with them, begging them if you will, just begging with them, 'look. Look at me. Not at my face, not much to look at, but just look at my life. Not what I've done myself, but what Jesus has done. Just look at me I beg of you.

' He wants them to see the picture and get the idea to contrast how he is with how he was and how he is with how they are. There's a world of difference here. A state of being attained through Christ, the source of his righteousness. Now, going back to that verse there in Galatians, he says, 'I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law then Christ is dead in vain.' Can you think of another passage in the new testament where it says something about Christ? Where he died? But it would all be in vain if Jesus had not done something. Remember? Corinthians 15.

He says, 'if Christ had not risen you would be dead in your sins. It would be vain. Your faith would be vain. Your experience would be vain.' Why? Because as much as Jesus died and that was necessary, he needed to rise from the dead and go to heaven to begin his intercession before the throne of God. And he's telling the Corinthians, in 1 Corinthians , if Christ is not risen to do that - to take that place, then your faith is vain.

You're done for. And so, he's saying something kind of the same here. "I do not frustrate the grace of God: if righteousness come by the law then Christ is dead in vain." This is a serious point and I want us to - you may have already got it. Maybe I'm laboring the point too much, but he makes it very clear here that unless we as individuals and as a people, unless we understand how to get conversion - how to find conversion. How to find righteousness in Jesus.

How to turn our will over to him. How to let him come into our life. How to have Christ in us, the hope of glory. How to have that experience of righteousness by faith - which the 144,000 have got to have - if we don't have that, we're done. You can know all the prophecies and you may be very good at expounding them.

You may be a sinner and you go and you say, 'Lord I'm sorry' and you're very sincere in asking God to forgive you - but unless you also understand how to let Jesus in so those sins that you're constantly asking forgiveness for you don't start to overcome - you're done. It's a serious thing we're dealing with. And as the devil sent the judaizers among these galatian churches - to keep religion - the devil wasn't using these judaizers to tell the galatian people 'forget religion. Just go and do something else.' No. He was encouraging them to stay to their religious exp - well, religion of a sort, but it's not religion.

It's not coming to church every Sabbath. It's not doing the Sabbath school lesson. It's not paying tithe, through which we're saved. It's knowing Jesus. It's me knowing Jesus in my heart.

And that means I have to be a little child. And when he comes into your heart you feel more and more like a little child. You realize you just don't have it in yourself, but it's a wonderful thing to be able to commit yourself into the hands of this God. And the more of a little child you become you realize that he loves you because you're just a little kid. When I look at my little grandsons - I look at them and think, 'wow, I just love these little guys.

' And when they came in the bedroom last night and I'm trying to do this lesson, you know, I'm always last minute - little william comes in and he's bringing me jack's truck and - jack's dump truck and then he brings me a book and then he brings - I look at this little kid with a smile on his face and I - oh Lord, just to be a little child - and I smile at him and he knows I love him. I know that God loves me too. I'm a man. I'm a man as any man can be, but I'm God's little child and he loves me and I'm glad to be his little toddler or whatever else. It's a wonderful experience to be able to just be free from pride.

It's so emancipating. I can be normal and humble and simple. I've got nothing to prove. Jesus loves me and I'm confident that he'll save me. So I'm just me and he's just him.

And just him is not just any ordinary person. He can save us. Okay, let's get back to the lesson here. So, Paul had this experience and he wanted them to understand it because he's telling the Galatians 'be as I am' because, you see, when you become as Paul was, it's not legalistic. Because as he came to Christ and he was crucified - crucified with Christ.

When that death of the old man took place, something else came in to take the place - the third person of the Godhead ascended upon him and he became a vessel that was filled with the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes in somebody's life he brings with him, we are told, every other blessing in his train. So if you want to know how to give Bible studies, if you want to know how to speak - and sometimes God may call us to preach. Sometimes I preach - if I never preach again I don't care, there's plenty of things to do in the ministry. Plenty of things.

Preaching is just the tip of the iceberg. So there's stuff for all of us to do. I mean, Jesus comes in and we have this experience, we have a burden for people. They could be our version of the Galatians. They could be our version of the Philippians.

They could be our version of the Colossians. We want to work for people and our greatest joy is to see them come to Jesus Christ. Because when Christ comes in through the Holy Spirit, he supplies the power which enables us to walk joyfully in obedience to the divine precepts. And only this kind of Christianity - justification and sanctification - so we're lovingly obedient and this state of being is the only kind that leads to eternal life. He says, 'I beseech you brethren' - and so I beseech you this morning to - when you go home study Galatians 2:16-21.

Make a note. Galatians 2:16-21. And there you'll find a perfect blend of law and grace together. And may the Lord help us to experience that as we seek him. Moving on to Tuesday he says, 'I have become as you are.

' If Paul was begging the Galatians to become as he was in Christ, then why would he say in Galatians 4:12, 'I have become as you are.' It says in the lesson this sounds maybe a bit confusing, but it's not really. He says, 'brethren" - Galatians :12 - "brethren, I beseech you, be as I am for I am as you are." Paul is not talking here about being as they are in the respect that they've had this shift in their theology and their legal experience - their experience with Christ. They've had a shift to legalism here. He's not talking about being like them in that respect. Instead, he is referring to how he, a Christian jew, has identified himself as one with them who are gentile jews.

They are his brothers and sisters and he is one with them in respect to the fact that he has happily stepped across that dividing wall which was there for centuries between the jews and the gentiles. You know, down there at the temple in Jerusalem, there was a wall built and that kept gentiles in the outer court. It stopped the gentiles going in - further in into the other buildings of the sanctuary - the temple close - well, the sanctuary. There's the place where the women could go and there was the place where the men could go, finally, there was the area where only the priests could go, but here was this wall and it was a partition - it was a dividing wall - and it was the purpose of Christ to just knock that down - gone. Make all men and women one nation under Christ - one blood.

And Paul understood this and so he was happy and glad to cross that dividing wall - that wall there - because it was not just a physical wall in Jerusalem. That physical wall actually stood for an even greater menace of a wall. It was this wall - this partition of hatred and anger and prejudice and resentment that had separated the jews and gentiles for years, decades, centuries. And writing now to the Ephesians, Paul describes how the death of Christ was to abolish this so that all could obtain salvation through him. Ephesians 2 - let's read verses through 18.

And who would like to have a go at this? Ephesians 2, verses 11-18. Do we have anybody? "Therefore, remember that formerly you are gentiles by birth and called 'uncircumcised' by those who call themselves 'the circumcision' (that done in the body by the hands of men) remember that at that time you were separated from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross by which he put to death their hostility.

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we have both access to The Father by one spirit." Thank you very much gordon. So, it's very self-explanatory here. And, of course, when he mentions having abolished in his flesh 'fleshly enmity, even the law of commandments' it's not the Ten Commandments. It says the law of commandments containing ordinances.

There are no ordinances or religious rites in the moral law. This is very clearly the ceremonial law. And in Colossians 3:10 it's the same thing. He says, "where there is neither Greek nor jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, scythian, bond, nor free, but Christ is all and in all." So, whatever their nationality, culture, color of their skin, that doesn't mean a thing to God. Not a thing.

He looks beyond that and he sees a precious soul who he has made. I need to be moving on here because time's - time is moving on. In your own time you can read Corinthians 9:9-22. Here again, he gives an all-encompassing statement - the same kind of thing. And Paul includes also here as well, his Jewish brethren because remember he still has a burden for them as well.

But in this section here on Tuesday, the main application drawn from this lesson is that the apostle Paul was a pioneer - and a very successful one - in the art of something known as contextualization. In other words, presenting the Gospel in a context - contextualization. Presenting the Gospel in such a way that, as far as possible without compromising its principles, it could blend with the - within the context of a local culture - or a far away culture of some people that he was sent to speak to or we may be sent to speak to. This is why anybody who is going far afield to become a missionary - I know they used to at least - they have institutes and sometimes it was andrews or the andrews people, I think, would travel - when I was at newbold there was one of those meetings - somebody came from andrews to gather together some people from europe, who were going to various countries to be missionaries, and they discussed the culture of those places over there. Discussed the customs to tell them what, you know, what to say.

I mean, it's even me, an english person coming to America, I found out there's some things I would say which wasn't very complimentary here and vice versa. So, we need to be able to contextualize as far as possible. And, you know, there's books that we can read on that so I'm not going to dwell on that this morning. There's books you can read. There are seminars you can go through.

There's people who are experts in this thing, so I'm going to leave it there. What I want to talk to though - address - is far above, well at least equal - no, far above, far above - the need to be culturally compatible without - I want to make it clear - without compromising the Gospel, without compromising one pin of present truth. We know there are people today they say, 'you know, the Bible is culturally conditioned. It was okay 2000 years ago for that culture. Now it's different.

We live in 21st century America and things are different." Different inasmuch as there are different customs, but you know, customs change and it's human beings and the devil that like to bring customs. God gives truth and truth never changes. So I'm not changing any truth this morning, but as far as we can we need to adapt it do we not? So, one thing, putting aside how we can learn things about culture is this, it doesn't matter where we go, we must be imbued with that love for souls. And I've already said that this morning - but correct me if I'm wrong but I only see it there - I only read it in Scripture and I've only witnessed it in other people's lives - it is a person that is thoroughly converted, thoroughly born again, thoroughly crucified as far as their old nature is concerned - it's that kind of person that only can have a real love for souls that they're willing to go here, there, and yon - as Paul did and as others who have gone before him - to take salvation to others. Only those kind of people can have a heart for those that they're trying to save.

Is that correct? And you find an example of Jesus - Jesus is the best example. We see the example that Jesus set, for example, toward the samaritans. You know the story of the samaritans, of course, they were kind of shirttail relatives of the jews. And there was a long history that went between them and they were estranged - this wall of partition was built between them - and the jews, who were forbidden to associate with the samaritans unless it was for some business deal, you know - they've got something you don't have so you can spend money to get what you don't have - but other than that you stay away. And so, here were the jews, they had all this truth but nothing to commend it to the samaritans because of their - what's the word - their elitism and their prejudice.

But there was one who knew very well how to break down walls of prejudice and that was Jesus. And you see what happened when Jesus was up there in samaria - and I'm rushing now - that lady at the well came to him and you know the story. And then he stayed for a couple of days. And in Desire of Ages - we've got time to read just a couple of short statements here - but see what it says here. Okay, Jesus knew their customs, but more than that he had a heart to love them and they could tell.

Desire of Ages 192 and 193. "In the words spoken to the woman at the well, good seed had been sown and how quickly the harvest was received. The samaritans came and heard Jesus and believed on him. Crowding about him at the well, they plied him with questions and eagerly received his explanations of many things that had been obscure to them. As they listened, their perplexity began to clear away.

They were like people in great darkness tracing up a sudden ray of light until they had found the day. But they were not satisfied with this short conference. They were anxious to hear more, and to have their friends also listen to this wonderful teacher. They invited him to say in their city and begged him to remain with them. For two days he tarried in samaria, and had many more believe on him.

" Then it says here, "Jesus had begun to break down the partition wall between jew and gentile and to preach salvation to the world. Though he was a jew, he mingled freely with the samaritans, setting at naught the pharisaic customs of his nation. In face of their prejudices, he accepted the hospitality of these despised people. He slept under their roofs, ate with them the food from their tables, partaking of the food prepared and served by their hands, taught in their streets and treated them with the utmost kindness and courtesy. Why were they willing to listen? Because Jesus was kind.

He loved them and they knew it. And if we can be like that - I've got to stop now. This supercedes customs - everything else - because everybody in this world, wherever they come from, they can appreciate kindness. Now, you'll meet some people, if you're kind to them they don't show particularly anything at first because they've been so abused by people, they've been scammed, they've been beat around. When somebody shows them kindness they're skeptical.

I've seen people like that. Just recently a man said to me, he said, 'I was just waiting to see if you were genuine.' But if you persist and they see that you are genuine, they'll start to listen.

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