Posts Tagged ‘Paul’

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe. Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:1-26, NRSV)

I yam what I yam… I remember Popeye saying this on Saturday morning cartoons. He was different from everyone else and they made fun of him for it, but he didn’t care.

And Paul says the same thing. “But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” But by the grace of God. But by the gift of God.

God made Paul who he was, and God makes us who we are!

Gifting us with many wonderful things.

So be  you, everyone else is already taken and God didn’t make you to be someone else!

160908Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained. (Philippians 3:7-16, NRSV)

Whatever gains Paul had, they are no longer gains. They are not important. It is right before this that Paul lays out his bragging rights.

“circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.” (Philippians 3:5-6) Paul basically says he is perfect in the eyes of the Law! But none of this matters because when Christ came into the picture the Law does not matter anymore. Now Jesus did not come to get rid of the Law but to fulfill the Law. And that is a post for another day. But Paul’s reason to brag mean nothing to him. In fact, he goes even further with this.

Paul says, “I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him,…” Paul here says all things are rubbish. The word in the Greek is σκύβαλα and this is the only time it is used in all of the New Testament, and it is translated differently in all the translations. Some say rubbish, garbage, filth, and my favorite dung. But none of these get to what Paul was saying. You see the word σκύβαλα means something most of us would not say in polite company. As the image above says, “σκύβαλα happens!” And we all know what that means! Pauls says all things are shit, compared to what I have in Christ. And it was shocking. Because he was one who could brag and hold up his list, but that means nothing.

Nothing defines us but Christ, not our past, not our future. The only thing that matters is we are found in Christ!

So hold fast to Christ!

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.  For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe. (1 Corinthians 15:1-11, NRSV)

Here Paul reports to the Corinthians how Jesus has appeared to the disciples.

First to Cephas and then the 12, but the 12 would have included Cephas and Judas, so not sure where Paul gets his numbers from.

But then, after this, Jesus appears to 500 brothers and sisters, then to James, then the apostles.

And lastly to one untimely born, Paul.

But has Jesus appeared to you?

Have you seen Jesus?

Look around you, all of creation was made by Jesus, and we are all created in the image of God, so Jesus is with, and in all of us. So in your brothers and sisters is Jesus.

So have you seen Jesus?

160315If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:4b-14, NRSV)

How many of us rely on the past? Or look to the way things were, and if we could only get back to that?

The good old days were the best and if we could only get back to them, then everything would be perfect!

But that isn’t how this works. That isn’t how any of this works.

Paul lays out for us the reason he should be justified, and why he was persecuting Christians. He laid out his pedigree. And in that he held all hope, until he met Christ!

Once Christ had come in nothing of old mattered. It is not about looking back and wanting what was, it is about clinging to Christ and following Him where He leads us.

The past will not save us, only Jesus will!

So let go of everything that could have saved you and cling to Jesus. Give up everything else as the refuse it is. All of life is rubbish, refuse, garbage, dung without Jesus!

So cling to Jesus and don’t look back, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!

When a moderate south wind began to blow, they thought they could achieve their purpose; so they weighed anchor and began to sail past Crete, close to the shore. But soon a violent wind, called the northeaster, rushed down from Crete. Since the ship was caught and could not be turned head-on into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven. By running under the lee of a small island called Cauda we were scarcely able to get the ship’s boat under control. After hoisting it up they took measures to undergird the ship; then, fearing that they would run on the Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and so were driven. We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard, and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship’s tackle overboard. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul then stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss. I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we will have to run aground on some island.” When the fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea of Adria, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they took soundings and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on they took soundings again and found fifteen fathoms. Fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. But when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and had lowered the boat into the sea, on the pretext of putting out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat and set it adrift. Just before daybreak, Paul urged all of them to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been in suspense and remaining without food, having eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for none of you will lose a hair from your heads.” After he had said this, he took bread; and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat. Then all of them were encouraged and took food for themselves. (We were in all two hundred seventy-six persons in the ship.) After they had satisfied their hunger, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea. (Acts 27:13-38, NRSV)

I told you not to…

Have you ever heard those words before. If you are a guy the answer is probably a resounding yes!

Paul told them not to sail, but they did it any way. And now they are in a really bad storm, and are afraid they will lose it all.

But Paul comforts them, “Only the ship will be lost!”

Well that’s nice what will we do then?

We won’t have our transportation, but we will all be alive. It could be worse, right, we could all die, but that won’t happen so just keep heart and follow through.

Sometimes we go down a path, that we probably shouldn’t have, but God is always with us, and sometimes there might be collateral damage.

If we only but listen…

Sometimes easier said than done!

Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; by this Jesus everyone who believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39, NRSV)

Through the name of Jesus, we who believe have been set free from our past.

Through the name of Jesus, we who believe have been set free from our sin.

Through the name of Jesus, we who believe are set from the law that condemns us.

Through the name of Jesus, we who believe are set free from others thoughts of us.

Through the name of Jesus, we who believe are set free!

We are free! Through the faith we have in the promises, that as He rose we too shall rise.

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:12-22, NRSV)

As I read this text I heard the Borg line, “We are the Borg, resistance if futile.”

Because if Christ did not rise, and there is no resurrection then our faith is futile.

If there is no hope in this life, and what we believe isn’t true, then everything we hold onto, everything we hope in is a lie and there is nothing.

If Christ was not raised we are still living in our sins.

But we know that He was raised, and we know that all the promises are true. Our faith is not futile. Christ was raised, and we are assured that we will have life eternal with God!