Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
March 6, 2011
Dayton, Texas
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<064> Thesis: Paul's second major argument for the truth of his Gospel concerns God's focus upon His exaltation of Paul's explanation of the Gospel over that of those who compromise "Grace". Introduction: In our studies of the bulk of chapter one, we were compelled by Paul's words to consider the legitimacy of his understanding of the Gospel under the thesis that it is not "of" or "through" men, but is "by" direct revelation from Jesus, the Christ. His arguments focused upon two major issues: the profound differences in the realms of values and beliefs that a genuine faith in the Gospel produce; and the effective impossibility of Paul's preaching as an outcome of God's typical use of human intermediaries. It is Luke's record, and Paul's argument, that Saul of Tarsus became a major player in the establishment of local churches without ever having had any real opportunity to obtain his message from anyone other than Jesus Christ. There will be a somewhat different focus for our attention in our studies of chapter two. In this chapter, the issue is not "whence came the message?", but "what is its historical validation?" There are two parts to the answer: first, Paul's message was validated in Jerusalem by the apostles and elders of the "original" Church; and, second, Paul's message was validated in Antioch by Paul's effective confrontation of Peter, the recognized leader of the "original" Church, when he strayed from its basis in Grace. This evening we are going to look into the beginning of this second prong of Paul's presentation. We must keep in mind that his intention is to get his readers to make a definitive commitment of heart and mind to the Gospel so that it can do for them what it did for him. The issue of "definitive commitment" is one: the cessation of resistance in the heart and mind so that there are no obstacles to what the Lord wishes to do through those who believe. In the biblical concept of repentance, the issue is the building of a level highway into the heart of man so that the Lord can move into that place without obstructions. In the biblical concept of faith, the issue is the use of that highway by the indwelling Lord to move outward to accomplish His objectives through His purchased possessions.