Year 2 Day 187
Read - 1 Corinthians 15v1-11
Message - Scott Woodburn
In the history of the church there has never been a perfect leader, nor has there ever been a perfect Apostle. There wasn’t a single Apostle who was without sin, none of the original twelve, not Matthias and certainly not the Apostle Paul. Paul knew this fact all too well and as he wrote to the Corinthians he described himself as the least of the apostles (v9a) and unworthy to be called an apostle (v9b).
Why was Paul so hard on himself? Because unlike his fellow Apostles, Paul had actively sought to destroy the church of Christ (v9c). Paul was a devout Jew, a Pharisee, and it was his goal to stamp out the church believing it to be a dangerous and heretical sect. Paul would call himself an Apostle who was “untimely born” (v8). In other words Paul compares himself to a child born prematurely. If you have experience of little ones born early, then you know it is a time of deep uncertainly and worry for the parents and a time of great danger for the little child.
As Paul walked the road to Damascus he walked in grave danger. He was an enemy of the Gospel fully determined to find any Christians he could and have them arrested. To be an enemy of Christ is the most dangerous position of all. You may have money in the bank and not a care in the world but if you do not have Jesus then the wrath of God abides upon you. It is an awful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.
Yet as Paul walked the road full of sin and fury he met with the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus in His grace took Paul in his sin and great weakness and brought him to everlasting life, appointing him as an Apostle to the Gentiles. Paul knew what his awful past had been like but he also had come to realise the glory of the grace of God.
All of us have a past and if the whole story of who we are and what we are was written it would shame us utterly. Yet by the grace of God we are what we are. He has redeemed our lives from the pit. He has forgiven us every sin. He has taken the vile, the slanderer, the murderer, the adulterer and He has made them clean. It is by grace we have been saved - thank God! Paul knew it and preached it and I hope we understand it too.
And so today we complete our look at the Apostles. The famous and the unknown. Those who walked with Christ and the one who met Him later. Those who were with Him and the one who was against Him. As we reflect on their stories and their lives we remember the importance of their message. The untimely born Paul put it this way…
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” (v3-5)
Here is the Gospel. It was the message of the Apostles and the foundation of the church of Jesus Christ. It is the Gospel of grace to everyone with a past and in this particular day of busyness it remains the most important message you’ll hear all day or indeed in any day. Christian, rejoice in the Gospel for by it you have been saved! Unbeliever, repent of your sin and believe the Gospel. Jesus made Saul into Paul and today He can forgive your every sin.
Q70 What is the seventh commandment? The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.