When Jesus appeared to Paul He made known to him what he would do with God. The Lord appeared to Paul as a bright light and spoke to Paul as if in an audible voice.
Act 9:3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
Act 9:4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
Act 9:5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
Act 9:6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
When a disciple came to Saul that he may receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit we learn more of the Call of God on this chosen one. Jesus told this disciple….
Act 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
Act 9:16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
Jesus said that Paul would bear His name. To bear means:
1) to take up with the hands
2) to take up in order to carry or bear, to put upon one’s self.
This is a hint at the future revelation that Paul would receive from Jesus. For later Paul would teach us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ–to put not only His name upon ourselves…but everything.
From this starting place Saul immediately began to preach that Jesus was the Messiah, but his preaching caused a lot of trouble for the Church. It was not until years had gone by that we hear of him again.
Act 13:1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Act 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Paul tells us about the intervening years in his Galatians letter.
Gal 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,
Gal 1:16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,
Gal 1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
Gal 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days.
Gal 1:19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.
Gal 1:20 (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)
Gal 1:21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
We again see that Paul is receiving a Gospel that is all about “Christ in you.” He says that the Father called him through His grace to reveal Jesus IN him—in Paul…and that Paul would preach this IN YOU JESUS.
“To reveal His Son in me”
1) to uncover, lay open what has been veiled or covered up
1a) disclose, make bare
2) to make known, make manifest, disclose what before was unknown
Paul understood that Christ Jesus was in him and that Jesus was being unveiled and uncovered in Paul by the Father.
Gal 2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me.
Gal 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain.
Paul later says more about his calling
Act 26:16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.
Act 26:17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,
Act 26:18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
Jesus made known to Paul that Gentiles are blind, living in darkness under the power of Satan needing to experience the forgiveness of sins. Jesus had called Paul to preach Him…which Paul began to do everywhere. Paul preached the need to turn from sin to Jesus…the Jesus who suffered and died..and was raised from death.
In those early days of Paul’s ministry he was still receiving the revelation of the mystery which is “Christ in us the hope of glory”. In the years he spent under house arrest, when he wrote his letters to the churches it is evident that Paul knew more of the Life within than when he first preached.
It is these truths and life changing revelations that I wish to explore further.
Paul wrote that the Gospel is the power of God unto Salvation to those who believe….and that this Salvation is in our mouth and in our heart..
Co 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
1Co 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Paul preached a full death in the death of Jesus and a FULL LIFE in the LIFE OF JESUS. The Gospel that Paul preached set captives of sin free and brought them out from darkness, opening their eyes, bring them FULLY INTO GOD.
Any Gospel that leaves us separate from God in any way –with the responsibility to obey an external high up God is not the GOSPEL PAUL PREACHED.
Paul preached Christ Jesus living fully in us..FULLY.
The message of the Cross IS NOT our need to die daily by doing certain good things and abstaining from doing bad things….THAT IS NOT THE CROSS.
The Crucified life is the Life of Jesus in us–It is our new spirit–our new Life—the Only life that we now have.
We have died…past tense. We have been crucified with Jesus, there is no more dying to do.
We now live by the faith of Jesus- Who is always carrying us –not from up there in heaven–but in our heart–the heart we share with Him.
These things and more are what make up the Gospel of Paul.