The order of this lesson is deliberately reversed. In most lessons, we first establish a perspective. Then we go to scripture, see that perspective in scripture, and reinforce it. This lesson first allows scripture to establish the perspective. This perspective is so foreign to our thinking and our lives that scripture must reveal it. After we see the perspective in scripture, we will reinforce it.
Paul's life as a devout Jew prior to conversion to Christ:
Paul's credentials as a zealous, devout Jew who was certain that Jesus was an impostor:
Paul's religious zeal and commitment to Judaism when he believed Jesus was not the Christ:
Paul's life as a devout Christian:
Jesus Christ's statements to Paul:
Jesus Christ's statement to Ananias in Acts 9:15,16:
The Christian Paul acknowledged his stewardship:
Focus on Paul's situation clearly. Do not "chase" distracting questions and issues. Paul was a committed, aggressive enemy of the resurrected Jesus and all Jews who believed in Jesus. He arrested and voted for the deaths of his own people if they believed in Jesus! His religious behavior was governed by contempt, anger, and hostility. This all happened because he did not understand (1) who Jesus was, (2) God's plans through Abraham, (3) God's desire to save all people (see 1 Timothy 1:15,16). He had a lot of knowledge and no understanding!
Jesus appeared to Paul. Jesus proved his resurrection; his relationship to God; and his position as Christ. That encounter totally redirected Paul's life. Beginning with that encounter, Jesus gave Paul stewardship responsibilities to be honored in his mission to people who were not Jews. From that time forward, Paul's actions were motivated by two things: (1) God's incredible grace in forgiving Paul; and (2) Paul's stewardship. Paul's stewardship resulted in suffering, hardship, and sacrifice. It produced hostile rejections, misrepresentation, and becoming the object of hatred, imprisonment, and execution. As a good steward, regardless of current hardship, Paul consistently presented the God of grace, the Jesus who was the Christ, and the new humanity God created in Christ Jesus. See 2 Corinthians 11:22-33.
In Jesus, God entrusted us with His reputation and image, His greatest accomplishment (salvation in Jesus), Jesus Christ's name, Jesus Christ's gifts (forgiveness, redemption, atonement, justification, sanctification, propitiation, purification, etc.), the spiritual kingdom, spiritual existence, the new humanity, material possessions, and opportunity. The gifts God entrusts to each Christian staggers human comprehension.
What did Peter admonish all Christians to do in 1 Peter 4:10? Read Jesus' statement in Matthew 11:21-24. What will Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom say to us in the judgment?
Link to Teacher's Guide Quarter 4, Lesson 4
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