DO I SEEK TO PLEASE MEN?
Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Galatians 1:6 ¶ I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Galatians 1:10 ¶ For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
It is essential that the Apostle Paul give good, sound evidence that he received the gospel by divine revelation directly from the Lord God. For he was used of the Holy Spirit to write about two-thirds of the New Testament. Therefore he thought it highly needful for all to know that neither his calling into the apostleship, nor either his message were “of men.” (See verses one, eleven and twelve listed above.)
Also in verses fifteen and sixteen of this chapter he states it again. Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: He begins to tell us that this spiritual revelation must be attended with human isolation! For he informs us that this is how the Holy Spirit led him upon his being brought into the formally hidden mystery of the gospel. Colossians 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Then he states in verse seventeen where he did not go, as well as where he was led in order to receive and keep pure his divine revelation. Galatians 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
He stayed alone in the deserts of Arabia, unlearning the letter of the law, taught him by the famed Rabbi Gamaliel, and receiving the spirit of the word by the Holy Spirit; even hearing “the voice of his mouth!” Acts 22:14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
It was a full three years before any of the other apostles had personal contact with him in his apostolic calling! Galatians 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
Dear Reader it is imperative that we understand these things in order to realize, without doubt, that our gospel is divinely provided! 2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 ¶ We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
But the Apostle Paul, (formally Saul of Tarsus), was not allowed to ‘grow up’ in the beginnings of the Christian arena in the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus as were Peter and the other apostles. For he was so totally against the Lord Jesus and that which he deemed to be heresy, that he persecuted all whom he found to be in that way! Acts 26:11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
Therefore he was suddenly plunged into the spiritual realities, insomuch that there was a marked difference in his lifestyle so that he pursued ‘Christianity’ more determinately than all others. 1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
And even Peter noted the difference! Consider his assessment of the style of Paul’s writings. 2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
And needfully so! For even as Peter was shown by the Lord’s revelation not to relate to the Gentiles as “common or unclean,” when he was upon the housetop of Simon a tanner in Joppa, he still acted the hypocrite and refused to eat with the Gentiles, to whom he had just been ministering, when James showed up. Galatians 2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
And at that particular moment, in that particular circumstance, there was the Apostle Paul, differently raised up from the way that Peter and others had been, to act out a part that saved true Christianity from just being a warmed over Judaism! Thank the Lord that Paul did not seek to please men!
The Apostle Paul compared the Gentiles to a “wild olive tree,” grafted into the domestic olive tree of those believers in Israel. So there was, as it were, a difference in their nature, but the same “root and fatness” with their entrance into Christianity. Romans 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? 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.
Therefore we can see the amazing wisdom of God in not allowing Saul of Tarsus to have been with the twelve who walked on earth with the Lord Jesus. But he was to be brought into the kingdom of Christ after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and the sending of the Holy Spirit. He was not to become familiar with the humanity of Christ on earth! But he was to only be ‘introduced’ to Jesus in his heavenly, glorified state of reigning Lord! And therefore he was of an entirely different spiritual personality than all the others. And being so, he was the sole defender of the true and pure gospel kingdom, even against Peter at this time of Peter’s hypocrisy!
When the Lord God wanted to start the human race, he raised up one man – Adam! When the Lord God wanted to deliver his people from Egypt, he raised up one man – Moses! And that same, sole human being was used to receive the whole law. When he would deliver the human race from a most devastating famine, he raise up one man – Joseph! When he wanted to deliver his people from their suppression by the heathen, he would raise up one judge at a time. And when he would redeem the entire world from the bondage of sin, he raised up the man Christ Jesus! Therefore we see that at the precise time of the danger of his scriptures, and even his kingdom being perverted, he had this one man; the Apostle Paul, standing in the gap to prevent those apostles of a different upbringing from returning Christianity back into Judaism!
Peter was indeed “in the holy mount” when the glory was revealed to him, as stated in 2 Peter 1:18 (listed above). But the Apostle Paul, being of such a different relationship with the Lord, was actually caught up into the third heaven and heard words not lawful to be uttered. 2 Corinthians 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. The glory came down to Peter, but Paul was brought up into it! Therefore is it any wonder that Peter found some things hard to be understood in the writings of Paul?
Peter was indeed, proclaimed by Christ as a symbol of the rock upon which he would build his church. For it is the rock of revealed faith upon which all believers are secured. Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
But the Apostle Paul was marked, not only as an earthly rock for a foundation, but with the entering into the spiritual, mysterious fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. He was to be in a spiritual fellowship with the sufferings of Christ for the Lord’s name’s sake. Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
Therefore he was elevated into a walk with the Lord in a “fellowship” based upon the experiencing of His sufferings! Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
He was so granted fellowship with Christ into this mystery that he makes a statement not written by any other prophet or apostle. Not that he had any part in the redemptive atonement of the cross; but that he was given to show Christ’s church a strong example of the meaning of substitution! Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: 25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
And due to his not having walked in the earthly ministry with the Lord Jesus as did the others, he had to constantly point to the Lord’s dealings through himself as proof of his apostleship! 1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. Galatians 6:17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
And the Apostle Paul could rightly proclaim that it was not just himself that lived in his body, for he was “crucified with Christ!” Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
And our Lord instructs us to be dead to ourselves and alive only in himself, so that our revelation would be by the same Holy Spirit. Matthew 10:18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
All the manifestation of God comes from revelation and requires isolation. (Galatians 1:17) But it will not be without confirmation. Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. And when the need arises for its use, there will be a manifestation! Galatians 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
Therefore we see that one of the main reasons that religion in our day is so anemic, as far as the manifestation of the Holy Spirit through her, is that there is hardly any isolation! The society of professed believers are so determinately seeking the emotional warmth from ‘fellowship’ with one another, that there is no thought of ‘coming apart’ to be alone with the Lord Jesus Christ! The Bride is seeking fellowship with the Bride, and not with the Husband!
Pastor Gene Breed
January 21, 2021