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David Pawson - Paul And His Letters - Unlocking the bible

Jan 25, 2022
well for the next few studies we are going to look at a lot of Paul's

letters

so I thought about this study before we look at any of their

letters

we would look at Paul himself and then how he came to write the letters and how we should approach them to To know who this man was, we know more about him than any other apostle, in fact, a third of the New Testament is written by or about him, if you put the facts together with all his letters, that's more than a third. The New Testament focuses on this man and I would guess that he has had more influence in 2000 years of church history than anyone else except Jesus himself, in fact we go so far as to say that he has had the most influence on the church. history of Europe than anyone else. men, then who was he?
david pawson   paul and his letters   unlocking the bible
Well let's start with his life before looking at his letters and I just wanted to talk about Paul before his conversion, during his conversion and after his conversion, those are the three phases of his life, although the third is the longest. and T Most exciting long before his conversion he was born in a place called Tarsus in south east Turkey as it is today right in the north east corner of the Mediterranean and that was a university town it was the third most famous university in the ancient world Athens was number one would be Cambridge then Alexandria would be number two because I went there Alexandria would be Oxford number two and Tarsus would be Durham number three Well they told me that's the order but there we are but it was the third most famous university town throughout the Mediterranean world and Paul himself was raised with a unique combination of three main influences in his life one was his Jewish ancestry he was Jewish and proud to be a Jew one of God's chosen people he was ashamed of it even though he was willing to let it slide later, but he was brought up to believe in Yahuah, the God of Israel, and God is the first person in his life since his childhood, even though he got it wrong.
david pawson   paul and his letters   unlocking the bible

More Interesting Facts About,

david pawson paul and his letters unlocking the bible...

Even though he was serving God by persecuting the Christians, he was bored with the tribe of Benjamin, which was one of the twelve tribes that were almost wiped out in the book of Judges, but it survived and it was a very small tribe, but from it came the first king. of Israel so you probably call him alma but alma is the correct way to pronounce his name and this little boy was named after the first king of israel came from the same tribe so they named him Sol he was later leaving to put a Latin name.
david pawson   paul and his letters   unlocking the bible
Paulus or Paulus which actually means little and was a very small man by all accounts but that was a part of his upbringing as a boy he probably moved to the Galilee as far as we know the family moved to the Galilee and then he sent the boy to Jerusalem to study with a very famous liberal professor named Gamaliel and Gamaliel we hear only once in the Bible in the New Testament when asked about these Christians he said well let's wait and see if it is from God it will last if he won will not be he went extinct typical nailing his colors to the fence and the result in the result is that we never heard from Gamaliel again he was a broad minded and tolerant liberal man so he said let's wait and see don't get too excited but one of his students was just the opposite, he said these christians are dangerous he said this is the biggest threat to our jewish faith there has ever been and i'm going to fight hard the interesting thing is god can do so much more s with the antagonism of what can with indifference years ago I went to speak at a youth club and there were 30 young people there when I got home my wife said how did it go as she usually does I said well there is hope for two of them I said two of them they were so mad at me they had angry tears in their eyes so there is hope for them the rest just sat and watched me get those two baptized six months from now you can do a lot more with hostility than indifference and God could do so much more with these students they are old and he could with this Galileo professor because Kamali oh he just sat on the fence and said wait and see but Saul said I am going to fight this and therefore he got involved and voted for the first martyr Christian or against him when it was voted whether to put Stephen to death, Saul voted to put Stephen to death and actually held the robes of the men who threw stones and killed the first men who died for Jesus and of From that moment he was kicking against the pang his conscience was worried about the way Esteban died his face lit up with glory and he said I can see Jesus up there and into your hands I commend my spirit just as Esteban died the soul could not get that out of his memory or his conscience, but he set out as an anti-Christian missionary, he was willing to be a Christian missionary against Christians and to leave his own land to go persecute Christians in other places, so he was a missionary before his conversion, but from the wrong side, but he was willing to leave home and family and go fight those Christians somewhere else, now that's a bit of his past I didn't mention other influences that was the Jewish inference that was the inference of the Greek language who lived in Tarsus spoke Greek and that was the lingua franca of the ancient world of his life.
david pawson   paul and his letters   unlocking the bible
Swahili along the east coast of Africa wherever you go you speak sound and everywhere in the ancient world someone could understand Greek and that was to give him a language in which to preach wherever he was. was the other influence on him was roman law because his father presumably had been honored in the roman world's New Years Honors List or whatever and had become a roman citizen, maybe it was because he made a lot of tents for the roman soldiers. I don't know, but tent making was the family profession that Sol entered at the age of twelve and forever he and his life making tents, but his father became a Roman citizen, what went crazy e Paul or Sol the Younger a Roman citizen also by inheritance and who gave him certain privileges which he used when he appealed to Caesar at the end of his life who was exercising his privilege and when he came to be executed he was not crucified as Peter was as Jesus, he was beheading, which was the privilege of a Roman citizen, quickly overcame it, while crucifixion was the slowest death of all.
Roman citizenship was very helpful and he had the privilege to appeal as any citizen of this country can appeal all the way to the House of Lords so he was able to appeal all the way to Caesar and he did later so here is a unique combination from Jewish Greek. and Roman background ideally suited to be a missionary for Jesus to the Gentile world. I could hardly have had a better upbringing, which underscores the fact that God prepares you for your life's tasks even before you become a Christian. Stian, before you know it, had his eye on Sol when he was in the womb and set him up, but of course there had to come a point where instead of being an anti-Christian missionary he became a Christian missionary and there's only one thing it takes to make a Jew a Christian, we really shouldn't call any Jew a Christian, it's a gentile word which states that Gentile Antioch Jews become full Jews or true Jews or what that they do not become Christians, do not call him a Jew.
Christian, but he became a believer in Jesus and it only takes one thing for a Jew to convert to faith in Jesus and that is to know that Jesus is alive, that's all I need. Later he said to me, are you saying that Jesus of Nazareth is still alive? I told him yes, I am. She said, but if he is, then he must be our Messiah. I said yes and she said how do I know if he is alive? I'll try to talk to him right there and sh I did and he figured it out. You know?
Within 10 minutes he was teaching me the Bible. He had it all in his past. It was in his blood. The truth was there, except for the one key that would open it. the messiah once she got that key the whole

bible

opened up and she was teaching me the scriptures within 10 minutes of coming to faith this is how the entire nation will be converted one day and what happened to

paul

o soul on the Road to Damascus. it will happen to the entire jewish nation one day when they look at the one they pierced and realize how wrong they were so that's what happened on the darkest road that first picture is taken on the golan heights because that's where it happened near a small town called quneitra and the meaning is that as soon as this Jew this Pharisee this Jew of the Jew the Hebrew of the Hebrews as soon as his feet stepped on Gentile soil Jesus of Nazareth found him and told him I am going to send you to the gentiles then h This conversion took place off Jewish soil and that was very significant, so he went up to the Golan Heights just a few hours from Damascus and there he met Jesus.
Jesus was much brighter because this time he saw a Jesus who had ascended again and he regained the glory he once had before he left his glory and slightly puts his glory down that's why he did it but when he ascended he went back to heaven he got all his glory from turn around and that glory would blind you if we could see the glory of jesus now we would be blinded our retinas rubies god these lights are bad enough for tv but the glory of jesus you see Peter James and John saw the glory of jesus during the incarnation but not after of his ascension when he took back that truck of the father and it was a light brighter than the midday sun and it blinded him and he came to repentance and faced his entire birthing process it took three days to and was not complete in a dear old man named Ananias He came and prayed with him.
Ananias who God told to go and pray with a man called his own soul who is here to kill us and his dear old man had to swallow his pride and go and he said to the soul I have come to be healed and see again and to to be baptized in water and to be filled with the Holy Spirit that is the culmination if you know my little book the normal Christian birth you know that that is it completely blew up and it took three days from his first repentance and faith to being baptized and filled with the spirit , but forever Paul saw all of that as a thing like being born again into the kingdom and he always insisted on all of those things for every one of his converts that is 19 years old so that was his normal Christian birth and now he was ready to work But it's fascinating that he didn't start being a missionary right away, he started preaching, he couldn't keep quiet about it and very quickly it became a hostility he was going to stir up hostility wherever he went. he preached but mainly of the jews never of the romans and they had to lower him in a basket from a window in the city wall now it's interesting this man's preparation for his ministry didn't start next tuesday that's what we want to do as soon As we hear a call, we want to go to leave everything and go and do it.
It would be at least 13 years before Paul began to do what God called him to do that day. The problem is with God. He was in a hurry and he left, or rather, he was in a hurry and God does not have the right way to do it, so said the American preacher Phillips Brooks, so for three years he went to Arabia to think it over and rethink his theology which he did not go to. the university did not go to the Biblical Training School he did not go to consult anyone he simply spent it alone with the Lord because he was special he was the last person to see the risen Lord he affirmed that he was the last apostle of that type a special number thirteen som People have tried to say that it should have been number 12 in Judas Iscariot's place, that's pretty wrong.
Paul always recognized the twelve and never counted himself as one of them, but he was number thirteen and he kept claiming that he had a special apostleship. Haven't I seen it? he does not call me and so he is that type of apostle who can give a scripture because of his unique relationship with a risen Christ well three years and Arabia's thought was then that his mind must have worked like this when Jesus met him on the Road from Damascus Jesus said why are you persecuting me and he could have said I am not persecuting you Lord I am persecuting these Christians but he did not say that because he realized in an instant that whatever you do to Christians you are doing to Christ and it was from that intuition that grew his entire theology of the church as the body of Christ. re doing giving it to him and that literally Christians are his body on earth and what you do to them you are doing to him and therefore his theology grew out of that encounter with the resurrected ascended Christ along the way from Damascus, you can trace it back to that and the thought that he had to do alone in the Arabian desert for three years, but then he went to Jerusalem and got into trouble there, they wouldn't believe he was a true convert, well, I mean, Would you believe it if someone had been putting your family down? in prison, he then he appeared in a church the next Sunday morning and said: I have converted. he is responsible for introducing the soul to the Christian Church in Jerusalem, but still the Jews in Jerusalem got very angry, I mean, they consider him a traitor, he was one of their best rabbis in training and now he is one of those hated Christians, for what was being sent back to Tarsus for ten years now we overlook this, you know, we think about the conversion of Paul andWe immediately think of his missionary trips and he's going to preach to know three years in Arabia thinking about it ten years ago in his hometown waiting for that call to be confirmed and then dear Barnabas comes back into the picture by the way that's the way to Damascus but that is the street called directly in Damascus the same street where he was baptized in water and filled with the Holy Spirit and the street is still there today it is a straight street that runs through the center of Damascus I thought you would be interested it is not a very good photograph but of a very important place that you probably don't recognize it, you don't normally see pictures of it.
It is a very large city in Syria today and it is called Antioch. Antioch now that city figures a lot in the New Testament and was going to figure in the life of Paul, first of all that is the place where the prodigal son went to spend his money the distant country there was only one distant country in the days of the gospels and that was Antioch it was called the Paris of the old world or the Amsterdam or the Bangkok of the old world which tells you enough and if you wanted to live large and you were living in Israel then you got all the money you could and went to Antioch because that's where it all happened that's where all the nightclubs that's where it all happened that's where the prodigal son ended up among the pigs no doubt look at your map it's the only place to go if you want to paint the city red it was a bad place a sinful place and it was there that the first Gentile Christian Church arose and Barnabas was part of that and that is where the word christian was first coined and Barnabas finally after 10 years brought a soul to Antioch to a Gentile Church this Jew of the Jews now had to live as a Gentile and he said he was willing to do this years later he said to the Jew I have become like a Jew to the Gentiles and I have become as I am now willing to live anyway if it will save some that's a flexibility that many of us don't have I don't have but we need some way came and it was in that gentile church that five of them were in a stroller eating a couple of teachers two or three prophets and while they were ministering to the Lord a prophecy came the time has come to separate Saul and Barnabas for the work to which I call so Saul actually received his call in two ways at his conversion Jesus told him what he wanted to do but that was further confirmed late through a prophecy in the church I just want to stress that there are too many Christians who think once they have had a call from the Lord that is enough I think they should wait until the church to confirm that call and then you have a double call of the head and the body and when the days get tough later that double call will keep you going so Barnabas and Saul were doing their first job together actually it wasn't the first job they had together, both had been deacons first treasurers and the first job they both had together in the church of Antioch was to take care of the famine fund for Jerusalem.
There was a famine in south Jerusalem and they in this church took up a collection and said that Saul and Barnabas would be a good couple to take care of the funds and again isn't it so interesting here is a man with an or for the Gentiles? world and he gets a job at the church looking after the funds, but they did and it was the first time those two had worked together again. We get so impatient to do something big quickly, don't we? However, Saul and Barnabas were willing to do that first, but now they are sent.
Antioch didn't support them financially, just sent them out and we'll see how they support themselves later and they're gone now. I'm sure if you were like me in school. I had to draw Paul's mission trips until you could draw them in your sleep. That's all I remember. My worst subject in school was scripture knowledge so there is hope for anyone but like George Bernard Shaw my education began when I left the school I used to draw. That is the only thing dear vicar that he used to teach us stayed in my mind and I was able to draw that in my dream and what Saul and Barnabas here in Antioch see here is Jerusalem the waves had left Jerusalem until they touched Antioch now Antioch was going to be the epicenter and the ripples would spread all the way to Rome and Paul's first ambition was to evangelize the entire world from the northeast Mediterranean to the capital of the Empire and that is what he and Barnabas set out to do, they set out first for Cyprus and then returned to the mainland I planted churches around here Antioch Lystra and Derbe There's another Antioch there and then I went back and reported back to Antioch, his base of operations, what had happened and then further away and most of Paul's letters are written to churches around the Sea Aegean.
I show you another map later and then his third and last voyage he was shipwrecked and did not leave crete he was shipwrecked in malta he arrived as a prisoner in rome his strategy was to play a kingdom community in each key city and then move on as fast as possible sometimes just he was there for three weeks sometimes it takes 18 months and yet sometimes he had to leave sometimes he decided to leave but left behind a church to evangelize the whole district he didn't try to cover every time he said what is the key city what is the center of that province so let's plant a church there and they can evangelize themselves from that moment on and it was a very successful strategy instead of trying to do everything he planted a church life himself and then said now you evangelize this province I'll move on and as a true apostle he was constantly on the move constantly exploring new territories breaking new ground he says in Romans that it was my ambition not to work where no one had worked. down I want to open fresh land virgin territory and so I press more and more until I cross that little piece of sea the gospel reached Europe for the first time and Europe is not the same since now I have passed through there through incredible dangers shipwrecks three times we only have one story in the

bible

flogged many times to an interest life stoned and left for dead and then after a long list of being hungry and without sleep he adds this and on top of everything else the care of all the churches that seems the peak of his burden you know he was flogged that's nothing more than taking care of churches oh that really is the final straw and if you know anything about taking care of churches you know it is and it's easy he would go to the Lions sometimes and meet with the deacons but having planted churches and having moved, of course, he had to continue his work and he took care of all the churches.
He didn't like some evangelists coming to have a big crusade and then go ahead and forget it oh no he was worried about building them to see the church screw up quantity and quality and there were two ways you could go one was revisit and often did. or this little group of churches a year after he planted them and was then able to appoint elders in each place and once an apostle had appointed local elders, his job was done, he writes to Titus and tells him I left you in Crete to finish the job before appointing elders in each city so that as soon as the church had its own appointed local leaders, the Apostles' job was done, he could go, but getting the churches established to that point was not easy. , so you could revisit them, but constantly checking them would prevent you from doing so. to go further and his ambition was to evangelize as far as Spain he wanted to evangelize the entire north coast of the Mediterranean what an ambition but he couldn't be constantly visiting these churches and going to Spain so the other way he followed was to write letters and that's why he we have

paul

's letters in the new testament that was his way of pursuing his evangelism now what kind of a man was he by the way he finally found himself in rome a prisoner on trial for his life dr.
Lucas his friend wrote his defense for the judge the Gospel of Luke in the book of Acts as we know and he was acquitted of that occasion and released he went to Spain as far as we know there is a strong tradition that Paul was in Spain and also he revisited these areas and went to the annika palace of Crete and other places he hadn't been before and then like Jesus before him he was betrayed by a metal worker named Alexander and was betrayed and arrested the second time and a Nero . reign and they took him so quickly that he could not even pick up his notebooks or his coat we will see in the pastoral epistles of Timothy and Titus how he wrote and said please send me my coat it's cold and my notebooks my diaries please send and that is the story of his life, but what kind of man was he, well we have a description of his appearance which is not very attractive, he was short, Paulus means small, he had bow legs, a hooked nose, he was balding and his eyebrows they were meeting in the middle of him and his eyes were peculiar and he had very rough hands that weren't exactly attractive and I imagine a church that is considering poor to be their pastor and the report comes in that he has a peculiar experience that he never stays in a place for a long time that usually annoys people who has had problems with the police who has been in jail who is a very dogmatic preacher who is not married who makes camping equipment who divides all his congregations and above all he speaks in tongues now you can imagine a church to which this curriculum is presented?
This curriculum is done by saying that only men should be pastors. You know. It just shows that God chooses very different people from those chosen by men. The people of Israel had to learn that when they chose they saw why he was such a big handsome man and God's choice was David and God chose this funny looking little man to be the greatest missionary that ever lived and have the greatest influence in the next 2000 years of history. the choice of men is not of God a man of tremendous dedication zeal is called in the Bible pure dedication enthusiasm determination a man of tremendous concentration one thing I do of course he was not married he had no family and from his own experience he urged others in not really either because he said that has allowed me to focus totally on this one thing i've been called a man of incredible courage a man of controlled anger we'll see when we study how letters some letters are red hot you know they should have been printed on asbestos paper, they really burn if you read them correctly and it always irritates me when someone reads them in church, you know that's where the second lesson ends and there's no feeling because they're literally full of passion. the letters from him and some of them are really very angry, in fact, read my paraphrase of Galatians if you wanted to see how direct and fierce he could be in a man of tremendous concern. the care and compassion of Tears men and yet his secret is not in his human qualities, what comes out in his letters is what made men mark what he lived for and I just scored five sorry, three things that really summed up his secret for me, I wrote them yesterday, so this is all the rage in the press.
I was thinking about what really made Paul the man he was and I wrote three words: Christ, gospel and grace, Christ, there was no doubt that this man lived absolutely for Christ, he tells me that Christ is alive and from the day he he met Christ on the road to Damascus he was totally absorbed with Jesus that's why he was able to say if I die I'm better off he said he longs to leave and be with Christ because he's far better not well if my time comes I'll go you know I really wanted to I really wanted to die because I lived for Christ and I would be closer to Christ if I died He calls himself a slave of Christ He said he bought me I am his slave He often began a letter Paul the Apostle a slave of Jesus and to be a slave in him ancient world was to be despised you were wholly someone else's property you had no free time of your own you had no money of your own nothing of your own you belonged wholly to someone else and he calls himself a slave of jesus and yet ta He also calls himself an ambassador for Christ.
A very interesting combination of high and low social position. Slave and yet ambassador. He was proud to be an ambassador and yet proud to be a slave. I'll realize the relevance of this Paul rarely spoke of Christ in me only once or twice in all the letters he ever said crises dozens and dozens of times he said I'm in Christ now that's very, very important because if we talk so much about of Jesus in me you reduced Jesus in size to a small Jesus inside my heart the smaller he is in the greater you follow me now when Paul spoke of the Holy Spirit he almost always said that the Spirit is in me but when he spoke of Christ he said I said an In Christ I remember talking to a German shepherd years ago and he told me how in the 1930s he was in the Hitler Youth and when he joined the Hitler Youth he stood in front of a German officer who said what's your name they gave him his name and the officer said and what is your address where you live he said i live in Hamburg and the officer said wrong answer where you live he said i live in Germany wrong answer where you live he said i live in the Third Reich Ry so, where do you live?
He said I don't know what you want me to say andthe officer said you should say i live in hitler i live in hitler and that german shepherd told me later i started living in christ could you look what this total devotion was. I'm just saying that. I am much happier to hear people say that I am in Christ instead of Christ being in me because he is the greatest and we are in him. It is in Christ that we are. blessed with every blessing that is in him that it is all ours i just throw that away but paul was a man in christ that was his address wherever he was in the roman empire that was his climate his environment he was in christ the second great motivation of his life was the gospel he would do anything if it spread the gospel and that is why he could even find prison a thing to rejoice in he said he could be in chains but he said this is virtually what he was saying in the letter to the Philippians he said I'm chained to a Roman soldier eight hours straight I have three congregations captive a day and he said now we have Christians in Caesar's house so he said I can be bound but God's Word isn't and then there were people who while he was in prison seized his pulpit and preached to him out of rivalry with him and would guide him they locked him up so they could seize his pulpit and it says in Philippians I hear them are doing it out of rivalry and jealousy of me but he said hallelujah the gospel is being preached i dont care why they preach it as long as they are preaching here is a man who lived for the gospel and said i owe it to him. for everyone, he considered it not so much a responsibility as a debt.
If you discovered a cure for cancer, what would your relationship be to everyone who suffers from it? You should tell them, wouldn't you feel obligated to do it? Paul says I'm under obligation to a debtor. to jews and greeks i owe the world i owe it to them and that's why he would do anything for the gospel that's why he was an ambassador and would go anywhere to tell anyone what god had done in christ and just let me give you two little words to qualify his gospel was an eschatological gospel there is a word for you to give you a change eschatology comes from the greek word eschaton the last things and it means the future and his gospel was an eschatological gospel and what I mean by that is that he was an gospel about the future a future that had invaded the present and if we forget that future dimension of the gospel we forget about the gospel itself the gospel is not just good news about life here it is good news about a new world that is coming anew body Being that we are going to receive good news of the return of Jesus, there will be a conference at the end of this month where 60 national leaders will gather because they share the burden that the dimension n eschatology of the gospel has been neglected in the church in England, we are not singing about the second coming, have you noticed that we are not singing about heaven?
We are totally concerned about our problems in this world and how to live now, but the gospel is eschatological, it was a kingdom that was to come. and a king that is to come and all along Paul saw the gospel as the future that you can already enjoy now it was the people of tomorrow and the other side of his gospel the other word that qualified it his gospel was an ethical gospel he was not he was interested in a salvation of souls that would not result in a different lifestyle and his gospel was a gospel of the future it was also a gospel of living it in daily life now i want to say more about that later the third word i written Grace was that Paul could never get over the fact that Jesus claimed him on his way to imprison the Christians, he just could never get over the fact that what he was was totally undeserved and that if Jesus had given him what he wanted. he deserved he would have been in hell he just couldn't get over that is what it means grace means something you just don't deserve given to you for free it's summed up in the statement in Romans that Paul says while we were still enemies Christ died for us and of course that it was so true of him that he was an enemy that he was using all his energy to fight against Christ and Christ said I am going to use you you are going to be one of mine now this grace produces gratitude and they can see that the reason for gratitude is behind it much of the work of this man, he was so grateful for having been treated so contrary to what he deserved that the grace of the Lord Jesus became the motivation of his life now those three words that we could have many more but those were the three that yesterday I felt were the three great things in Pablo's life.
Christ was the greatest. He was in Christ. The gospel was what he wanted others to have more than anything else. And the sheer grace of God was what motivated him. Now, let's see his letters. the most famous letter writer in history if you like to read other people's letters you will love the new testament because it is full of letters addressed to other people now writing letters was very rare among jews there are very very few letters written by jews in the ancient world the reason is very simple they lived in a small country that did not eat lettuce and of course writing letters was a very expensive occupation there was an imperial postal service in the roman empire but it was for the exclusive use of roman officials common people could not go to the mailbox and put a letter in it you just couldn't do that you could write a letter but then you had to find a postman who would go all the way with it so you didn't write a lot of letters and if you lived close to your relatives you didn't you wrote letters you went to see them or you gave a message to a friend who was passing by the house so within Israel very very few letters were written in the Roman Empire quite a lot s were written but usually by officials or by wealthy individuals, consider paying a postman to take you all the way, there was no postal service so you had to have a pretty compelling reason to write a letter you wouldn't want. you were here having a great time you wouldn't write that kind of postcard you would write a letter about a crisis or a major problem and of course every letter from Paul was written for that kind of crisis situation, usually in the ancient world the letters were a fairly short sheet of papyrus and anything up to 20 words but then sometimes they would glue one sheet to another and roll it all up and then you could write the length of a letter Paul's letters are the longest we have from the ancient world his average the length was about 13 but words that's long you can imagine it handwritten on a pretty big strip of paper and his letter to the romans is 7114 words which is the longest letter ever written in those days so that Paul actually put himself in these letters. now he followed the format of each letter if you imagine a paper rolled up like this and very sensibly the first thing you wrote in a letter was the sender's name it's not so sensible because we put the sender's name right at the end I get letters sometimes from 20 pages of people who think I have nothing else to do know it and put their name right at the end so you have it turn right to the end before you know who sent or very sensibly put the sender's name that was the first word you wrote paul apostle slave of jesus the next thing he wrote was the address so the postman just unrolled the first little piece you see imagine if he wanted to read the Rest he could but the name of the dress came first, so Paul the saints in Ephesus or wherever maybe the next thing he did was greet them, which was a normal letter, so he greets them with some sort of greeting followed by some good wishes which Paul always turns into or ations for them, which is interesting. it didn't say best of luck british, it said i pray for you or that for you and then the next thing you did in the letter was congratulate the person you were writing to to say something nice about them and put them in a good mood for the rest of the letter and it's interesting that Paul always, if he could write nice things about the people he was writing to before he dealt with their problems, it's not a bad pattern for us to follow if he has a critique of someone say something nice to them first it is interesting that in the seven letters to the churches of Asia in Revelation that Jesus himself wrote he followed exactly the same pattern and praised them before criticizing them only one small point that is the Christian after you have done that you get down to business letter work and you go over that and then you summarize the business, usually you summarize in one sentence what you've written and then you give them a few more greetings and sign your own signature now most people they didn't write their own letters and I'm sure you've seen pictures of letter writers in India you get someone else to write it in the greek world they called that person and a menu iNSYS and Paul didn't write their own letters he dictated them to the menu inserts sometimes it was silas sometimes someone else now that's important because it means the letters were spoken instead of written follow me? most of the New Testament was talked about before it was written and you can imagine Paul walking around saying now tell them this and I've said it's all really talked about it's like he's there and he's talking to them it's a very colloquial style no it's a literary sty to it it's a conversational style now my wife's mother died this year in ninety ninety eight she just didn't survive but until the end her letters were just news news and hooves she knew everything about anyone she had the most phenomenal memory the best that we too and she would write these letters with news that she was sitting in the room telling you all about her great-grandchildren, that they are numerous now and there she was now, that's how Paul wrote letters, he's talking to them, he's not composing a lecture, he's writing a letter and he's doing it because he can't be there, but it's as good as being there because he's just talking and telling Now write this down as I'm talking and he's talking walking around and just talking to that congregation and recording it and yet it's in letter form he almost always signed his letters at the end now of course something was wrong with the Paul's eyes, we don't really know what, but it meant that he wrote in huge letters like this and it says at the end of Galatians, see what big letters I am writing with my own hand, he particularly began to do that as we will see in the next study in Thessalonians because people started imitating Paul and sending letters as if they were from Paul which were fake and not much harm and the church in Thessalonica had such a letter so Paul was very careful to say look I'm signing you the second letter in my own handwriting and do not believe any letter that does not have my signature. the devil can deceive in many ways so those were his letters now there are three types of letters he wrote there were personal letters he wrote to individuals Philemon Timothy Titus there were what we call occasional letters that were written to churches and when we say occasional we mean that they were caused by something going on in the church there was one occasion that caused a letter do you follow me that's what we mean by occasional not just once in a while and then there was a third ge general letters of the kind we get dozens of christmas's if you know what is a general letter, it is usually printed and tells us everything about the family and holidays we have had etc, they are circular letters that really have no connection to the reader, they are not occasioned by the reader, there are general news and they would apply wherever you send them, the Pope writes letters like this from time to time, he calls them encyclical letters, we call them circular letters, do you send our s Christmas letters and you send them? all the family news and you know duplicate it and send it to everyone and the missionaries do that too that's a general letter actually Paul only wrote one of those letters which one was Ephesians that's right not Romans Romans it was caused by a situation in Rome but Ephesians is the only letter in which it does not deal with any local problems and gives a general description of Christian belief and behavior it is a very good letter to study as a general letter applies to all Christians but it's with the occasional letters that we have trouble interpreting and applying because the occasional letters are one side of a correspondence and again when I think I did in a previous study I share this with you have you ever been in a in the room someone is talking on the phone and you only hear their side of the conversation what do you do with your mind? you know and someone says i should see a lawyer about it now what does your mind think has been said to the other side? see what? has happened they've filed for bankruptcy or been falsely arrested or have an awkward neighbor you don't know or well I'm glad you're fully recovered and you're sitting there listening to something fully recovered, what do you know, shock? illness bereavement you don't know now you see a card it's like this an occasional letter has been caused by a situation we know nothing about apart from the letter and you have to try to guess what's going on in that card urch i needed this card follow me again here is a one-sided telephone conversation and you try to guess what it is about hello I'm here congratulationsHow much does it weigh?
What color is it? Don't let your wife put her hands on it. I will discover that she is very thirsty for a caterpillar. She moves pretty fast. Keep in mind that she is in clay, isn't she? I could get one myself. Cheerio. What she was? She was a tractor. Honey, at first you see what I mean when you read an epistle, that's what you're reading and you have to piece together the other side all the time, you say what was going on in Corinth, what was going on in Galatia and then you build the picture. you have to do a bit of detective work and read between the lines, it's a lot of fun doing it and you get to know a lot, for example, Paul wrote two letters to Thessalonica and one is a very warm letter and the other is very cool. letter and you say why one is warm and the other cold what's happened to change their whole tone verese is the kind of clue look that's why I want you to read the books of the bible as complete books you can choose texts from Thessalonians, but you won't understand unless you're reading the whole thing, we also have the problem of the culture gap, of course, which was two thousand miles and two thousand years away from the background of these letters and that requires some understanding and translation, we have to find the principles behind the practice and then apply it today, for example, when I study Corinthians I'll spend a little bit of time talking about women and hats and we have to say now how we handle that and how we apply it today I don't see a hat in the room neither on the heads of men nor women but it says that should be it or not we have to somehow translate the principle to our situation let me say two final things about Paul in his letters number one thank you Thank God, the New Testament churches were not perfect, not only encourages us but you realize that if they If we didn't have problems, we wouldn't have a single letter from Paul.
It is only because the Corinthian church was so charismatic and so carnal that we have 1 Corinthians 13 on love. We never would have known that if they hadn't all been speaking in tongues. see it is because they had problems that paul had to write and give us a third part of the new testament so thank god the churches of the new testament were not perfect but here is the final thought there is no other religion the use of letters for divine revelation Why did the father of the garden of our Lord Jesus use letters to be our scriptures?
He is unheard of in the world. Personal letters from human to human become the Word of God. Now we are so used to seeing the epistles in the Bible that we take them. of course you shouldn't it's unheard of why god should use letters to communicate his word to us because when paul wrote those letters he had no idea that a big part of a bible matters to you at the end of the new testament the second epistle of peter is refers to Paul's letters as scriptures, so they began to be even in New Testament days, but Paul never thought he was just writing a note to Collins.
Why did God use letters to communicate his word? I think there are two reasons why this was done number one makes personal letters from the Word of God personal they have an address and the Word of God is addressed to us and a letter communicates personal communication letters can be very personal can be very emotional they can be heart to heart and God wanted to use the letters of Paul to communicate his word because they are very personal and our religion will remain personal as long as it remains close to the letters of Paul, the other thing is that the Word of God is practical and the letters are always about practical things, they are related to life, they are related to real life with real needs with marriage with slavery with children at home with daily work all these things are about in letters and God wanted us to have his word in a practical way and a personal way so that we never get into philosophy in these academic theologians, you know that there are too many academic intellectuals who study the Christian faith and live in their ivory palaces of the lecture hall at the university and discuss Christianity that is where all the strange opinions given to us by the Bishop of Durham come from the lecture hall God did not want to give us his word in lectures but in letters and they are good, maybe you have never thought of that before.
I didn't think about it until yesterday and I thought what a great thing it is to study the Bible that you're constantly seeing things you've never seen before, it's just as fresh and interesting at the end of your life as it was at the end of your life. the beginning and i saw thank you Lord for giving us letters to show us your truth in a letter the truth becomes personal and practical and that's what you want you want a face that is personal and practical and that's why you didn't give us sermons there is not a single conference of Paul in the New Testament, but we have all these letters to look at and the next time we look at the letters to the Thessalonians, the truth of this book is relevant to the study.

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