Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Galations 1:11-24

Here are some thoughts on the lectionary text this week that I will be preaching about:
· Paul writes to the Galatians to ward off bad theology that the Galatia church have encountered. These 'rival missionaries' are Christian Jews who are telling Gentiles they need to participate in circumcision and other Jewish acts now that they are followers of Christ. Paul writes to tell them his case, which he declares is from God and not through others in Jerusalem.
· There are two different ideas that this letter came out before or after the Council of Jerusalem, found in Acts 15. It is suggested that if it came out before the council then this letter was probably to the churches in south Galatia congregations and that Gal. 2:1-10’s visit to Jerusalem was Paul’s trip there to discuss famine relief. The other idea and one that most scholars side with is that this is written after the Council of Jerusalem and that it was to the northern churches in Galatia.
· In this opening chapter Paul defends his authority, like he does so often. He talks about his past life in the Jewish faith and how God transformed him. God showed him Christ in order to give him a new task, a new commission in life.
· Paul echoes the quotes of Isaiah and Jeremiah in verse 15. This is one place where Paul suggests the idea of predestination.

Point for the congregation:
· One point that I got was Paul’s strong feelings that his words came from God. He was not taught them by the apostles in Jerusalem. He did not get special teachings from ‘man’ to talk about God. Thus Joe and Sue Laity do not need high education to talk about how God has interacted in their lives. To be witnesses to Christ, to tell the story, to evangelize is to tell others how God has interacted in your personal life. Formal education is not necessarily needed to do that. You should not be afraid of professing God’s work within yourself.
· Using Paul as our example we can see how awesome God’s grace can become. It can completely transform us. This transformation doesn’t merely touch what we do on Sundays but reaches into every aspect of life and makes it different, makes it new. Saul was a holy man before he changed his name [to be accepted by the gentiles better] to Paul and he continued to be. What changed though is where he gives credit. In the beginning of this text he talks about me and I. I advanced in Judaism beyond… Later he talks about God’s work in his life and beyond. The focus turned from me and I to God. Paul was so transformed that he always give God the credit for what happened in his life and we should follow that example.

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