Dear Student of God's Word,
I missed an installment two weeks ago when I was in Kenya, so now it is time to catch up. I just could not find time to post this one online.The good news is that I had a chance while there to edit our next study, which will be on Philippians. This unit concludes our study of Galatians and so I include my closing remarks to this seven-part study here:
6:17 – Paul did indeed suffer for Jesus. Read his account in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28:
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
Paul was probably referring to his near death experience when he had been among the Galatians in Acts 14:
Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe (Acts 14:19-20).
I think Paul had the marks of Jesus on his body, don’t you? That should sober anyone who talks about or treats the apostolic lightly or as a means to personal gain or prestige. The apostolic is about more than a reserved parking space and the respect of people. It is about pain and suffering for the sake of Christ.
6:18 - As we close the study of this letter, I urge you to examine your life and see if there is any legalism operating there. Are you putting your faith in any doctrine, church or movement instead of Jesus? Are you avoiding persecution for the cross of Christ? Have you given up doing good, despairing of any ultimate reward? If so, then it is time to set things straight. Confess, repent and move on. Use this letter as an incentive to get back on track and don’t receive any doctrine or teaching that conflicts with the One who bought you with His blood.
May His grace, mercy and peace be yours.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the unpublished volumes of The Faith Files.
If these Bible studies have been a blessing to you this year, then please don't forget to express your thanks by helping with THE BIG GOAL during December to raise $10,000 toward feeding, housing and providing educational resources for Kenyan orphans and widows. I have already received more than $1,000 so we are on our way! You can read about it here, and then give through this site using the Chipin widget or Paypal, or send a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Every penny goes right to the people in need with no overhead. At right is a picture of my wife last week in front of the Operation Chicken Coop shed where 500 chicks will take up residence on December 16. She is pictured with five of the orphans and three of the orphanage founders, who are so excited about the help you are providing. God is helping us make a difference in one small part of the world. Thank you and God bless you as you remember the widows and orphans.