Bible Basics: The Letters of Paul

Worship on the Lord’s Day
01 October 2023    10:00 am
The Sacrament of Holy Communion
World Communion and Orange Shirt Sunday
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev. Brad Childs
Music Director: Binu Kapadia           Vocalists: Sam & Ann May Malayang
Elder: Darlene Eerkes

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
P: and also with you.

Lighting of the Christ candle
Welcome and announcements
Silent preparation for worship

Call to Worship
L: There is silence,
P: And there is light.
L: There is music,
P: And there is grace.
L: There are people,
P: And there is life.
L: There is hope,
P: And there is God.
L: Let us worship well today.

Opening praise: Forever God is faithful

Prayers of approach and confession

Steadfast God, as the seasons change, we see that you are still at work in the world, transforming hearts and situations.

You have shown us the true face of power in Jesus Christ, reaching out with healing and hope to touch desperate lives.

We praise you for your love that works for reconciliation among neighbours and nations in this divided world.

May we see the face of Jesus as we break bread at his table.

Renew our hope by the gift of your Spirit at work among us, so that we can live to praise you with the whole Church that bears Jesus’ name.

All-embracing God, we confess we don’t like to feel uncomfortable.

We often turn away from suffering or injustice, even when the evidence is right before our eyes.

We don’t like to feel responsible for reaching out, even when we could.

Forgive us, O God.

Give us courage to love others as you love us, and respond with the same mind we meet in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Response: I will trust in the Lord

Assurance of God’s grace: Hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ – and Christ died for us; Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. Believe the good news of the gospel. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven by God’s renewing grace.

We listen for the voice of God

Scripture readings (NRSV): Romans 1:17; Galatians 5:6; Philippians 3:13-14; Philemon 1:16

Response: Behold the Lamb of God

Message: “Bible Basics: Letters of Paul” (see endnotes at the bottom of the page)

St. Paul emerged around 2,000 years ago in Tarsus; situated in modern-day Turkey. At the time this was a magnificent center of higher education in addition to its beautiful landscape. [i] Born into a notable Jewish family, he was initially named Saul but like many people in the Hebrew Bible Paul changed his name (his very identity) to reflect a new spiritual identity. Paul’s journey through history is marked by his remarkable transformation and prolific contributions to growth in the early Church.

Paul’s early life included excelling in his studies and becoming a devoted disciple of a renowned first-century Rabbi named Gamaliel. Gamaliel played a pivotal role in shaping Saul’s education as a Pious One or a Pharisee. Now despite what people often think, the Pharisees were not pure evil. They were extremely well respected and for good reason. Even though historical documents and biblical accounts suggest that Gamaliel urged his students to refrain from persecuting Messianic-believing Jews, Saul deviated from this counsel. Instead, he actively participated in the trials and persecution of early Christians. [ii]

Paul’s pivotal and life-changing moment occurred during a journey to Damascus when he experienced a transformative vision and heard a divine voice questioning his persecution of the Church. At this juncture, he embraced Christianity and became a fervent follower of Christ, later known as St. Paul. He underwent extensive training with Christian leaders, embarked on teaching missions, established Christian communities, and, after a significant argument with the Apostle Peter, eventually received permission from the apostles in Jerusalem to spread the gospel to non-Jewish communities. Most of the New Testament consists of correspondence between Paul and the various congregations he established, often named after the cities they were in or the ministers overseeing them. [iii] Paul’s unwavering faith eventually led to his martyrdom by the Roman authorities. [iv]

During Paul’s time, there were professional letter writers. These were called scribes commonly. And they penned the letters from dictation. They also, as a matter of practice for legal reasons, duplicated each document for record-keeping. As a result, the early collection of Paul’s letters likely originated from Paul’s own personal library. [v]

The first letter of Paul we find in the New Testament is addressed to the Church in Rome. [vi] The Roman churches are made of Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Jesus, calling themselves “The Way.” Emperor Claudius had at one point expelled all Jewish people from Rome, and then 5 years later, the same Emperor allowed them to return. When the Jewish followers of Jesus returned to Rome, they found a Church (run by non-Jewish followers of Jesus) that looked very different (non-Jewish) from the one they had been forced to leave. The Old guard so to speak didn’t like what the new folks had changed about the place. And so, the people fought about eating Kosher, and other issues. [vii]

Paul wrote Romans likely before Luke or John penned their gospels. [viii] And that is basically what Romans is. It’s Paul’s gospel written long before John, Luke, Matthew and perhaps even Mark. In the Letter to the Romans, Paul explains that we can have a special relationship with God through faith in Jesus. He talks about how everyone can believe in Jesus and be a part of God’s family, no matter where they’re from or the people they come from. Paul emphasizes the importance of helping one another to show our Love for God. In Romans 5:1-2 Paul writes, “Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [ix] Paul’s emphasis on the universality of salvation, extending it to Jews and Gentiles, challenged the prevailing exclusivity of religious beliefs. [x]

1 Corinthians: This letter was written to a group of people meeting together in a city called Corinth. Paul strategically planted a new congregation there because it was known as a city of absolute debauchery. The Philosopher Plato refers to sex workers in “The Republic” and elsewhere by the colloquialism “Corinthian Girls.” The town had a bad reputation. To the congregation in Corinth, Paul addresses questions and concerns about living as followers of Jesus in a corrupt society. What are the sexual ethics or views on local festivals??? Paul writes about essential things in daily life and about love, unity, and how to worship together as a community. 1 Corinthians 13:13 states, “These things are steadily true: Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of all is love.” [xi] This is how Paul says Christ wants us to handle our differences in the church.

2 Corinthians is a follow-up letter to say, keep strong; making the right choice isn’t often the easy choice. [xii] This is where we hear Paul’s reflections on his own personal “thorn in the flesh” come from. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). [xiii] Being a Christian, Paul says, sometimes means “taking a licking.” [xiv] Still, Paul also speaks of how God’s power can shine through our weaknesses. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul hears God say to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” It doesn’t matter that he’s getting older or that he seems to be going blind. Paul doesn’t need comfort he just needs to know that through Grace, he will eternally rest in the Lord.

Galatia is a “province”. It’s like saying “the Kootenays” or “the Shuswap.” When I was a kid it was “the Ozarks”! I do love it there.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul is angry. An organized group has come to the area. [xv] They disrupt things on purpose, telling everyone to convert to Judaism and then follow Jesus and say that if you aren’t a Jew first then you’re not a real Christian. They were pulling a “Saul” on “Paul” and wanted people to follow sacrificial laws that Paul said were, already once and for all, offered under a perfect sacrifice.

This group wanted every male adult circumcised, the women to sit in a different area and to only be considered members if married; and on and on. Paul writes back and says, “Don’t follow these yahoos.” He adds, “If you insist on circumcision (cutting another contract in addition to the one Jesus offered which is just to believe), then go ahead – BUT I hope your knife slips and you cut the whole thing off” (Galatians 5:12). Paul’s response is this: In Galatians 2:16 it states, “Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. So, we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law because, by the works of the law, no one will be justified.” When Paul says this, he says it as someone who was devoted to the law for life but noticed that he kept making mistakes. He knows he can’t be perfect. But he also knows someone who is.

Later, Paul writes to the Ephesians. Ephesus was a vast cosmopolitan city and a center for Roman cultic practices. Paul pens this book from prison to provide a context for God extending salvation beyond a “chosen people.” God can choose a family at will and bless them if God so chooses. That’s what God did with Israel. And now you think you’re the only special ones. No. You were meant to bless the whole world. Paul writes, ‘This is the entire story of the Hebrew Bible’. Now God is doing it again by extending the blessing even further than thought possible. Paul argues that it has always been God’s plan for the chosen to call others into the fold. Each life is precious, and each person is a part of a larger plan. In Ephesians 2:10, he tells the congregation, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” [xvi]

Philippians is often described as the “letter of joy” because of its overarching theme of rejoicing in all circumstances and of just how proud Paul is of this church. If you are looking for inspiration, this is an excellent place to find it. Paul loves this congregation. He’s in jail and thinks he will die, and he writes this congregation to encourage them because he loves them like family. Philippians is the first Church Paul started in Eastern Europe and it was full of retired soldiers as a result patriotism was generally considered the main religion in town. Paul asked the people to salute a different kind of Caesar and a different kind of wealth. [xvii] And he also asked them to keep their focus on the good. In Philippians 4:8 Paul writes, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Keep your mind on what’s good.”

Colossians exalts the supremacy of Christ and says that everything the Church does needs to be rooted in Him. But the Colossians are a people Paul hasn’t yet visited and didn’t find it, yet a group of close friends had been involved when it first started. Paul wants to check-in. Paul has some knowledge of the congregation and speaks to them like a missionary. They think in rather vague cosmology and Paul can play that game too. Next Paul provides authority to the existence of the Church. Then, it’s all about their blessing in Christ and the world through them. He prays for their growth and success. IT REVEALS HIM AS “The First Born,” “Author and King of Creation,” “a new Adam,” or “new humanity” and a prototype for all who follow. This New Humanity will recreate the Garden of Eden again and bring all His Father’s followers with him. [xviii] Paul writes to the Colossians to remind them that Jesus is the most crucial thing in the world. He encourages them to be kind, patient, and forgiving towards others, just as Jesus. In Colossians 1:18, he tells them, “The head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”

In 1 Thessalonians (which is perhaps the first or at least third book in the New Testament ever written), Paul talks about being ready for when Jesus returns. [xix] As a result of waiting on the “coming of the Lord,” people have stopped working, paying debt, and becoming dissenters in the world. While most of the Christian communities had become rather famous for their aid of those in need and communal life the Thessalonians Jesus followers decided that if Jesus was coming back, why do anything? Paul responds to this by saying ‘Get up, work, eat, live their lives and yet also be prepared’ in case the day comes, and you aren’t ready.

At this point, I recall a magnet Rev. John Dowds used to have on the lamp in our (???) office. It said, “Jesus is coming, Hide your Bong.” To some degree, Paul tells the people here something similar. He says, clean up – the Landlord is eventually coming to check on you. The book is summed up well in 1 Thessalonians 5:11. It says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.”

In the second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul encourages the congregation to keep doing good things, even when they face challenges. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 says “My sisters and my brothers, never tire of doing what is good.” Here, Paul reminds the people “If one is not willing to work then one will not eat!” The point is not that they shouldn’t be able to eat so much as it will be less likely that they do. Still – a fair warning to be sure. [xx]

Timothy: When Paul first writes to his young friend Timothy, the 18-year-old is already the leader in this Christian community fraught with disorder and outbursts. As his mentor, Paul instructs Timothy on how to lead and teach others about Jesus, stressing the importance of being a good example. In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul writes to the young leader, “Don’t let anyone look down on you just because you are young but set an example for other believers by your speech, you’re your conduct, in love, in faith and purity.”

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul reminds his disciples to keep the faith no matter the cost or circumstances. [xxi]This letter is less about Timothy himself and more about Paul’s goodbye. See, as Paul writes this, his life is over. And that’s why in 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

In Paul’s letter written to Titus, we have a similar story. Titus is on the island of Crete and has become a follower of Jesus resulting in his ministry there. Create was famous at the time for being a retirement spot for ex-mercenaries. It was also claimed to be the “birthplace of Zeus” known for his trickery. The people in town and apparently in the congregation enjoyed telling stories about Zeus seducing women through deception lies and force. In this letter, Paul tells Titus that “The God Who Does Not Deceive” sent Jesus. He says the Church is different because our God is different. And yet, Paul says everybody needs to model that! Titus 2:7 says, “In everything, set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching, show integrity and seriousness.” Paul’s advice in Titus is essentially the same message I received from a retired minister (the Rev. Jack Mills) in Vancouver whose parting advice to me about his old congregations was… “Love Them. Just Love Them”.

And then, finally, we find Philemon. In Philemon, Paul writes a short yet powerful letter to his friend Philemon. Philemon owns the home used for the Church in Colossae (as in the letter to the Colossians). Like 55% of Romans, Philemon was a slave owner and one of Philemon’s slaves had run away. Along his flight to freedom, this enslaved person called Onesimus comes into the service of Paul while he is held in prison. As a result, Paul writes a letter to his friend Philemon asking him to take Onesimus back but to treat him as an equal because Onesimus has, through Paul, become a believer in Christ. In Philemon 1:15-16 Paul writes, “Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you as a fellow man and a brother in the Lord.” [xxii]

Here’s the thing – Paul wrote most of our New Testament. And the majority of what told these congregations 2000 years ago holds up.

Romans is God’s plan to offer a return to the Garden of Eden to everyone. Corinthians says don’t fight about disagreements. Celebrate agreements. Galatians says you can’t save yourself, but you also don’t have to. In Ephesians, you are saved by Grace alone, but you are responsible for sharing it. In Philippians if you keep the gospel and keep sharing it faithfully then you are a special kind of church not weighed down with bickering. In Colossians, Paul talks about Jesus as being before time and outside the limits of Greek philosophy. To the Thessalonians, he says to continue the good work but to those who refuse to work just know, yes Christ is coming back but you had better not refuse to work when it happens. To Timothy Paul says, age is just a number and it’s different for everyone older or younger. To Titus, he warns that troublemakers are coming with false and half-truths and to be aware. And in Philemon, we find a faith in Christ that truly sets the prisoners free and releases the slaves from captivity both physically and spiritually.

Song: As water to the thirsty (688)

We respond to serve God

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Prayer of gratitude and for others and ourselves

Generous God, we have received so much from you in Christ and in creation. Bless the gifts we offer so that they will speak of your love for the world in all its detail and diversity. May our gifts touch the need around us in the name of Christ who makes us one. Amen.

The Sacrament of Holy Communion


This table is set for all; around it there are no divisions.

Just as bread is not made from one grain, but from many, and wine is not made from one grape, but from a full harvest, so too, we, who are many, are made one in Christ.

This is a sacrament of unity.

Come and join with neighbours east and west, north and south, to celebrate Christ’s presence with us all.

Song: I come with joy (530)

We affirm our faith (together): The Nicene Creed (578)

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving                        

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

We give thanks our God through your beloved Servant Jesus Christ.

It is he whom you have sent in these last times as saviour and redeemer and the messenger of your will.

He is your Word, inseparable from you, through whom you made all things, in whom you take delight.

Sent from heaven into the virgin’s womb, he was conceived and took on human flesh and nature.

Born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin, He was revealed as your son.

In fulfillment of your will, he stretched out his hands and suffering to release from suffering those who place their hope in you. And so he won four you a holy people.

Of his own free choice, he accepted the death to which he was handed over in order to destroy death and to shatter the chains of the Evil One.

And trample underfoot the powers of hell.

And to lead the righteous into light, to fix the boundaries of death and to manifest their resurrection.

And so he took bread, gave thanks to you, and said. Take, eat, this. Is my body broken for you?

(The Fraction: Breaking of the Bread)

And in the same way, he took up the cup saying this is my blood shed for you.


When you do this, do it in remembrance of Me.

Remembering therefore His death and resurrection, we offer you this bread and cup.

We are thankful God, that you have counted us worthy to stand in your presence and to serve you as your priestly people.

We ask you to send your Holy Spirit upon the offering of your Holy Church.

Gather us into one all who share in the sacred mysteries, filling us with the Holy Spirit and confirming our faith in the truth, that together we may praise you and give you glory.

Through your servant Jesus Christ.

All glory and honour are yours, Father and Son, with The Holy Spirit, in the Holy Church, now and forever.

And All God’s people say, Amen.

Sharing of the bread and wine

Song: One Bread, One Body

The prayer after Communion: Rejoicing in the communion of the saints, ee praise your name, most holy Lord.

We give you thanks for all your servants who lived for you, departed in the faith and are now at peace with you forever. We thank you for all saints of every age and especially those who have been most dear to us.

We praise you, Father, for mothers and sisters, brothers and fathers in the faith who have helped in leading us to you. Believing that we are still at one with them we pray that we may follow their example until that time when we feast with them in your heavenly kingdom.

Bless us by this common act and we in unity also bless you. Send us out now to be Christ to the world. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray, Amen.

Hymn: Worship the Lord (vss. 1, 2, 4, 5): (555)

Sending out with God’s blessing

The Lord bless you and keep you, and the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord turn his face towards you. And give you his peace. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Response: The Blessing

Music postlude


Numbers in brackets after a song/hymn indicate that it is from the 1997 Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Those and other songs are being used in accordance with the specifications of Dayspring’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).
The Communion Liturgy is from the PCC Book of Common Worship (1991).
The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2023) on all original material in this service. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material that has not been attributed to others is his own creation or is in the public domain. Unacknowledged use of copyrighted material is unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification being received.


I Cleopatra and Mark Antony had previously arrived in Tarsus for a well-documented and famous vacation (42 BC).

[ii] The Talmud, an ancient Jewish commentary, references Gamaliel as a highly respected Rabbi with a student famous for displaying “impudence in learning,” which some scholars believe may refer to Paul. Nevertheless, the divergent paths of Gamaliel and Saul concerning Christianity are intriguing. While Gamaliel advocated tolerance toward Christians (noted in Acts 5:34–40, Paul is depicted as persecuting them with “murderous rage” (as found in Acts 8:1–3).

[iii] Examples include people in the cities of Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome, and pastors like Timothy and Titus.

[iv] Considering authorship: Over time, some questions have arisen about the authenticity of some books traditionally attributed to Paul, including 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. Some scholars suggest that these texts may be products of pseudepigrapha, wherein a group of students and close associates crafted writings in their master’s name based on their mentors’ teachings, memories and lessons, an honourable practice in that era.

[v] Hence, centuries later, when a book claimed to be from Paul’s hand surfaced, it was scrutinized for authenticity, recognizing genuine writings as a matter of common sense rather than a grand conspiracy. To this day, Paul’s life, and legacy stand as a testament to his profound impact on Christianity and the early Church.

[vi] Evidence suggests the letter was to pass between at least five different congregations in Rome.

[vii] In other words, this is about Christians and our relationship with the Law of the Old Testament as people who believe the Messiah has come. It was difficult because, in this one place, there were Traditional Jews, Messiah-believing Jews and even Non-Jews who followed the Messiah of the Jews. And it was messy.


Conversion 31-36AD Philippians 60AD
Galatians 48AD Philemon 62AD
1 Thessalonians 50AD Colossians 62AD
2 Thessalonians 51AD Ephesians 62AD
1 Corinthians 54AD 1 Timothy 64AD
2 Corinthians 55AD 2 Timothy 65AD
Conversion 31-36AD Titus 66AD
Romans 57AD Death 67AD


[ix] The comprehensive theological discourse in Romans provides a foundation for many core Christian beliefs, particularly the concept of justification by faith.

[x] Later he is going to beat the Galatians over the head telling them that no boundary of any kind can separate who might accept the gospel. At this point in the book of Galatians, Paul presents the very often and sadly cooped prooftext, that in Christ “There is neither Jew nor gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, for all are just one in Christ Jesus”. Much of the time this verse is taken far from its context. Paul of course is not saying here that gender doesn’t exist or that there are no distinctions between groups of people. What he is saying is that NO MATTER WHAT those distinctions are – NOTHING can stop the grace of God from reaching out to you. No group and no “class” is off limits. Grace is grace for all. God will justify and sanctify according to God’s will alone.

[xi] 1 Corinthians addresses a wide range of practical issues within the early Christian community, making it a valuable source for understanding the challenges faced by the first Christians, particularly those in an intentionally celebrated libertine society. Most people probably know Paul’s letter for Corinth from 1 Corinthians 13, which stands as the emphasis “love chapter” read at many a wedding and far more suitable for funerals. It says, “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious and does not boast and is not proud. Love does not dishonour others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Because true love never fails.”

[xii] 2 Corinthians provides a more personal and emotional glimpse into Paul’s life, revealing his vulnerability and struggles.

[xiii] I consider it very likely that this is akin to macular degeneration. It’s the kind of stuff I find interesting. I have become such a nerd. And it’s terrific! But it may well be that Paul had significant problems with his vision.

[xiv] Apparently, people in the church have decided that they don’t like Paul and want someone else. They have had guest speakers, and they prefer the visitors Paul sent to him. Paul challenges those who have become a separatist group working within the congregation in opposition to Paul. One of the things he says is that he understands they don’t like his education, don’t like his preaching styles, don’t like his clothes, and wonder how important he could be, being that he’s not blessed – Poor, sometimes homeless, shipwrecked, beat, imprisoned, working a side gig as a tent maker – They were embarrassed by Paul. And so, Paul asks a simple question: So, if taking a beating is a failure, what do you think Jesus did with his life and death?

[xv]  Paul describes, as do others, a group of more traditional Hebrews that are a part of the communities where the messianic Jews had become prevalent.  This resistance took it upon itself to travel behind Paul and enter congregations after Paul had moved on. They would then preach an altered version of the gospel. It was always what I call a “Christ, and” gospel. As if Jesus can’t do it and you must help. No. It’s just Jesus. You don’t have To DO Anything. That’s the whole point.

[xvi] While Ephesians and Colossians are very similar letters, Ephesians focuses on unity in the Church, then the community and beyond. Peace is essential to the plot. The book reflects on the US, “the body,” as a spiritual entity at war with another entity and adversary. We are told to be “of one mind” to counter the world’s evils together.

[xvii] Paul also reminds them of the suffering of the Messiah in Isaiah 53 in the prophets and how it if not Jesus, has never been fulfilled. Unlike Adam, the Messiah doesn’t claim power but gives it up.

Paul also says that whatever happens. He’s in prison and says, If I die, I meet Jesus. I get to introduce even more people to Jesus if I get released. Paul’s true sacrifice is not dying; it’s having to stay alive and keep preaching. He’s happy with both. At the same time, he encourages everyone to say that prison and poverty aren’t bad but teach about what is valid and vital.

[xviii] This new World to come is also multiethnic. The polytheistic group in the city is being challenged. They have lots of different gods, but Jesus fulfills the laws we find in Leviticus – because he is the end to which the law pointed. The law taught people they had sinned; it provided confession and sacrifice – torah – “reality to which all of the laws of the Torah pointed to anyway.”

[xix] He emphasizes the importance of loving and helping one another while they wait for that day. The emphasis on being ready for the second coming of Christ and Paul’s teaching about the resurrection of the dead spark’s curiosity about the future.

[xx] Paul tells the people to keep working and living but also adds two things to this message. The first is that Paul has heard of some people with “strong delusions” who are about to visit (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12). These are likely the same people that visit the congregations in Galatia.

[xxi] Paul encourages Timothy to stay strong and continue following Jesus. Clearly, something has happened between this, and the last letter Paul had sent.

Posted in Recent Sermons.