Text: 1 Cor 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. 17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
1 Cor 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
Introduction: Paul was a rabble rouser! Paul was disobedient to the Lord! Paul was a renegade! Be careful when you read Paul you can’t believe everything he says. Paul was a loose cannon everybody knows that.
THESE are just a few of the accusations I hear in increasing frequency. However, if you read the Pauline epistles these accusations begin to make some sense. Paul was “unorthodox” in his message and methods. His teachings do “contradict” the teachings, in great measure, of the then established “apostleship” of his day. Was Paul a loose cannon? Was he a rabble rouser?
THE answer to these questions is a resounding NO!
Before we accuse the man we need to learn some little known seldom taught bible facts.
FACT ONE: Israel and the ministry to her was being diminished by God. Israel had rejected God the father in the Old Testament when they chose Saul to be their king over God. (strike one) Israel rejected God the son by refusing the king and the kingdom when they crucified the Lord Jesus Christ. (strike two) Israel rejected God the holy spirit in Acts with the stoning of Stephen. (strike three) Consequently, and in accordance to God’s eternal plan and purpose he set Israel aside.
Notice: Rom 11:12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? Israel fell and the world got rich – HOW? The Gentiles would now get salvation – not through Israel – but in spite of them.
Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
The reason Paul’s message sounds different than the “four gospels” is because it is different. Paul is not a rabble rouser he has been given a new and distinct ministry and commission – apart from Israel and her 12 apostles!
FACT TWO: Paul had an “unorthodox” gospel! This is a very easy point to establish but does not get very much pulpit time in contemporary religious establishments. Please notice what Peter – the Christ appointed leader of the 12 (Mat 16:18-19) taught about eternal life.
PETER taught – Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Question: Peter how do I get my sins remitted? Answer: Repent (change your mind about who the Lord Jesus Christ said he was – the King Of Israel) And be water baptized in accordance to John’s baptism. (Mark 1:4, Mark 16, Luke 7:30 etc., etc., etc.,) Peter did not preach the blood of the cross for salvation to Israel!! Notice again: In Luke 9 the apostles are out preaching the gospel…. Luke 9:6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. What gospel are they preaching? It is NOT 1 Cor.15:3 & 4 which we will look at in just a moment. But observe what the 12 did not know. Luke 18:31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
Sounds like they have been out preaching the death, burial and resurrection of Christ all over the nation doesn’t it? Sounds a lot like 1 Corinthians 15 doesn’t it?… But they haven’t been and it isn’t! – Read the next verse: Luke 18:34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
There is no way on God’s green earth that you can go and preach a gospel that you 1. Do not understand – 2. Is hid from you and 3. You know nothing about.
FACT THREE: So either the bible itself is corrupt (and it isn’t) or when Paul comes on the scene something new and different is happening.
Blind orthodoxy will mix the two – Bible believers will believe their bible “rightly divided”!
Those who would follow the Lord today will have to follow Paul…
Paul writes to the Corinthians and says: 1 Cor 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. 17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
Do you know the ways of Paul? If you are in a denominational church I doubt very seriously that you do – otherwise you would not be there.
Do you follow Paul? He is our (the Gentiles) apostle today, in the dispensation of the grace of God. He writes in 1 Tim 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
If you would follow the Lord Jesus Christ you must follow Paul. 1 Cor 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
The things Paul wrote were not the suggestions of the Lord. They are the commandments of the Lord.
1 Cor 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Paul got his information directly from the risen Lord Jesus Christ. If you would follow Christ today you must follow Paul.
Phil 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
Paul commands the Philippians to follow him that he was the ensample.
1 Th 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
The Thessalonians followed Paul and in doing so became ensamples to others.
Be careful to note in this verse the condition of the Jews! They have been set aside along with their program. One day they will be God’s people again and will carry his message again. But not today. Today in the dispensation of the grace of God, Paul is our apostle and pattern. I didn’t say that – God said that!!