I. THE DESTINY. St. Paul feels that from his birth he was set apart for the great apostolic work of his later years.
1. There is a destiny in every life. God has his purpose of calling us into being.
2. This destiny is determined for us, not by us. We do not choose the circumstances in which we are born, nor our own gifts and dispositions. We can with difficulty escape from our surroundings, and we can never escape from ourselves. Whether a man will see the light as a prince in a palace, or as a beggar under a hedge, is entirely beyond his control, and it is equally impossible for him to determine whether he will have the genius of Newton or the inanity of an idiot. Yet how largely do these differences effect a man's necessary future!
3. We may be long unconscious of our destiny. St. Paul never dreamed of his while he sat at the feet of Gamaliel nor while he was harrying the Christians. It is a secret of providence gradually revealed.
4. It is our duty to work out our destiny by voluntary obedience to the will of God revealed in it when once it is revealed to us. To resist it is to kick against the pricks. We can do this, for, though set apart for a work, we may refuse to follow it by our free-will, but at our great cost.
II. THE CALL. In the Acts of the Apostles the external details of the call of St. Paul are described; here he gives us only the internal experience. He only could give this, and this was the really important thing. The flashing light, the arrested journey, the audible voice, the blindness, were all accessories. The one important thing was the inward voice that brought conviction to the heart of the man. Every apostle needed a call from Christ to constitute him such. But every Christian has some Divine call. We have not the miracle to convey the call, and we do not want it. By the manifest claims that present themselves to us, by the discovery of our own powers and opportunities of service, by the promptings of our conscience, Christ calls us to our life's work, To see a work for Christ needing to be done, and to be able to do it, is a providential call to undertake it. It is a disastrous superstition that keeps us back while we wait for a more articulate voice. God's will is manifest in the indication of what is right. To know God's will is to be called to his service.
III. THE MISSION.
1. Its object. The revelation of Christ. St. Paul was to make Christ known. He was not to spread his own religious notions, but only to reveal Christ. He was not to teach a doctrinal Christianity so much as to show Christ himself. This was to be done, not only by his words, but also by his life. He was so to live Christ that men should see Christ in him. Thus Christ was to be revealed in him. Before he could preach Christ in words he must have the revelation of Christ in his own person. If we do not reveal Christ by our lives, all our words will count for little, being belied by our glaringly inconsistent conduct. If we act like Christ, the silent influence of our living will be the most clear and powerful setting forth of Christ.
2. The scope of the mission. St. Paul was to preach Christ among the Gentiles. His own special gospel was the message that God's grace in Christ extended to the whole world. It was not for his own sake nor even for the glory of Christ alone that he was called to his great mission. The highest missions are unselfish and beneficent. We are all called in some way to minister to others. We can do it in no way better than by revealing Christ to them in our actions as well as in our words. - W.F.A.
I lie not.
Untruthfulness is something more than direct and deliberate misstatement, e.g.
, by the practice of making excuses for faults in conduct which do not fairly admit of them; by exaggeration, which from carelessness or vanity overstates the case; by equivocation, in which the words may be true, but the impression conveyed false; by dissimulation, which by silence or some assumed attitude allows a false impression of our position to go abroad; by the breaking of promises, whether from inability to fulfil a promise rashly made, or from neglect to fulfil one to which we have the power of giving effect; and by falsehood in act, such as is exemplified in schools in "copying" or "prompting." To inspire even a moderate love of this virtue, it is necessary to set the highest value of it before the child; the teacher must therefore be on the alert to check all its violations.
Talent is by no means rare in the world; nor is even genius. But can talent be trusted, or even genius? Not unless based on truthfulness. It is this quality more than any other that commands the esteem and respect, and secures the confidence of others. Truthfulness is at the foundation of all personal excellence.
Honour to the truthful man! Hail to the people with whom veracity prevails! Joy to mankind, when this daughter of light wins the victory over falsehood, and thrusts her back to that kingdom of darkness whence she sprang.
PAUL ASSEVERATES THE TRUTH OF DEFINITE STATEMENTS.
II. HIS DECLARATION OF TRUTH WAS COMPREHENSIVE.
III. HIS TRUTHFULNESS COMMENDED ITSELF TO THE JUDGMENT OF MEN, AND TO THE APPROVAL OF GOD.
1. Men were invited to witness it. "Behold."
2. God was the witness of the truth. It had been spoken, and acted in His sight. "All things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."Lessons:
1. The best of men are sometimes suspected of wrong-doing, and are liable to misrepresentation.
2. Every Christian man should speak and act as in the presence of God.
3. Very solemn avowals, as oaths, ought to be used only under constraint.
Concave mirrors magnify the features nearest to them into undue and monstrous propertions; and in common mirrors that are ill cast, and of uneven surface, the most beautiful face is distorted into deformity. So there are many minds of this description: they distort or magnify, diminish or discolour, almost every gospel truth which they reflect.
()Galeazius, a gentleman of great wealth, who suffered martyrdom at St. Angelo in Italy, being much entreated by his friends to recant, replied, "Death is much sweeter to me with the testimony of truth than life with its least denial."
The minister of the seminary at Clermont, France, having been siezed at Autun by the populace, the mayor, who wished to save him, advised him not to take the oath, but to allow him to tell the people that he had taken it. "I would myself make known your falsehood to the people" replied the clergyman: "it is not permitted me to ransom my life by a lie. The God who prohibits my taking this oath will not allow me to make it believed that I have taken it." The mayor was silent, and the minister was martyred.
TopicsTRUE, Assure, Behold, I'm, Lie, Lying, Making, Sight, Speaking, Touching, Truth, Witness, Writing
Outline1. Paul's greeting to the Galatians;6. He wonders why they have so soon left him and the gospel;8. and accurses those who preach any other gospel than he did.11. He learned the gospel not from men, but from God;14. and shows what he was before his calling;17. and what he did immediately after it.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGalatians 1:19
2535 Christ, family of
7707 apostles, designation
7241 Jerusalem, significance
TO ME it is a pitiful sight to see Paul defending himself as an apostle; and doing this, not against the gainsaying world, but against cold-hearted members of the church. They said that he was not truly an apostle, for he had not seen the Lord; and they uttered a great many other things derogatory to him. To maintain his claim to the apostleship, he was driven to commence his epistles with "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ," though his work was a self-evident proof of his call. If, after God has …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891
Answer to Mr. W's Fifth Objection.
5. The consideration that none of these raised persons did or could, after the return to their bodies, tell any tales of their separate existence; otherwise the Evangelists had not been silent in this main point, &c. p. 32. None of these persons, Mr. W. says, told any tales of their separate existence. So I suppose with him. As for the two first: How should they? being only, as Mr. W. says, an insignificant boy and girl, of twelve years of age, or thereabouts. Or if they did, the Evangelists were …
Nathaniel Lardner—A Vindication of Three of Our Blessed Saviour's Miracles
The Epistles of St. Paul
WHEN we pass from primitive Christian preaching to the epistles of St. Paul, we are embarrassed not by the scantiness but by the abundance of our materials. It is not possible to argue that the death of Christ has less than a central, or rather than the central and fundamental place, in the apostle's gospel. But before proceeding to investigate more closely the significance he assigns to it, there are some preliminary considerations to which it is necessary to attend. Attempts have often been made, …
James Denney—The Death of Christ
Institutions of Jesus.
That Jesus was never entirely absorbed in his apocalyptic ideas is proved, moreover, by the fact that at the very time he was most preoccupied with them, he laid with rare forethought the foundation of a church destined to endure. It is scarcely possible to doubt that he himself chose from among his disciples those who were pre-eminently called the "apostles," or the "twelve," since on the day after his death we find them forming a distinct body, and filling up by election the vacancies that had …
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus
The manner of going to God. * Hearty renunciation. * Prayer and praise prevent discouragement. * Sanctification in common business. * Prayer and the presence of God. * The whole substance of religion. * Self-estimation * Further personal experience. He discoursed with me very frequently, and with great openness of heart, concerning his manner of going to GOD, whereof some part is related already. He told me, that all consists in one hearty renunciation of everything which we are sensible does not …
Brother Lawrence—The Practice of the Presence of God
Exposition of St. Paul's Words, Gal. I. 8.
Exposition of St. Paul's Words, Gal. i. 8. [21.] When therefore certain of this sort wandering about provinces and cities, and carrying with them their venal errors, had found their way to Galatia, and when the Galatians, on hearing them, nauseating the truth, and vomiting up the manna of Apostolic and Catholic doctrine, were delighted with the garbage of heretical novelty, the apostle putting in exercise the authority of his office, delivered his sentence with the utmost severity, "Though we," he …
Vincent of Lérins—The COMMONITORY OF Vincent of Lérins
A Reasonable Service
TEXT: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."--Romans 12:1. There is perhaps no chapter in the New Testament, certainly none in this epistle, with which we are more familiar than this one which is introduced by the text; and yet, however familiar we may be with the statements, if we read them carefully and study them honestly they must always come to us not only in the …
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot
The Praise of Men.
"They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."--John xii. 43. This is spoken of the chief rulers of the Jews, who, though they believed in Christ's Divine mission, were afraid to confess Him, lest they should incur temporal loss and shame from the Pharisees. The censure passed by St. John on these persons is too often applicable to Christians at the present day; perhaps, indeed, there is no one among us who has not at some time or other fallen under it. We love the good opinion …
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII
"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain."--1 Cor. xv. 10. We can hardly conceive that grace, such as that given to the great Apostle who speaks in the text, would have been given in vain; that is, we should not expect that it would have been given, had it been foreseen and designed by the Almighty Giver that it would have been in vain. By which I do not mean, of course, to deny that God's gifts are oftentimes abused and wasted by man, which …
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VIII
So Great Blindness, Moreover, Hath Occupied Men's Minds...
43. So great blindness, moreover, hath occupied men's minds, that to them it is too little if we pronounce some lies not to be sins; but they must needs pronounce it to be sin in some things if we refuse to lie: and to such a pass have they been brought by defending lying, that even that first kind which is of all the most abominably wicked they pronounce to have been used by the Apostle Paul. For in the Epistle to the Galatians, written as it was, like the rest, for doctrine of religion and piety, …
St. Augustine—On Lying
Travelling in Palestine --Roads, Inns, Hospitality, Custom-House Officers, Taxation, Publicans
It was the very busiest road in Palestine, on which the publican Levi Matthew sat at the receipt of "custom," when our Lord called him to the fellowship of the Gospel, and he then made that great feast to which he invited his fellow-publicans, that they also might see and hear Him in Whom he had found life and peace (Luke 5:29). For, it was the only truly international road of all those which passed through Palestine; indeed, it formed one of the great highways of the world's commerce. At the time …
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life
The Early History of Particular Churches.
A.D. 67-A.D. 500 Section 1. The Church of England. [Sidenote: St. Paul's visit to England.] The CHURCH OF ENGLAND is believed, with good reason, to owe its foundation to the Apostle St. Paul, who probably came to this country after his first imprisonment at Rome. The writings of Tertullian, and others in the second and third centuries speak of Christianity as having spread as far as the islands of Britain, and a British king named Lucius is known to have embraced the Faith about the middle of …
John Henry Blunt—A Key to the Knowledge of Church History
It is Also Written, "But I Say unto You...
28. It is also written, "But I say unto you, Swear not at all." But the Apostle himself has used oaths in his Epistles.  And so he shows how that is to be taken which is said, "I say unto you, Swear not at all:" that is, lest by swearing one come to a facility in swearing, from facility to a custom, and so from a custom there be a downfall into perjury. And therefore he is not found to have sworn except in writing, where there is more wary forethought, and no precipitate tongue withal. And …
St. Augustine—On Lying
Text: Acts 10, 34-43. 34 And Peter opened his mouth, and said: Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him. 36 The word which he sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)--37 that saying ye yourselves know, which was published throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 even Jesus of Nazareth, …
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Text: Colossians 3, 12-17. 12 Put on therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering; 13 forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any; even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye: 14 and above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the Word …
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II
Extracts No. vii.
[In this number the objector gives the whole ground of his objections, and the reasons for his doubts: which he states as follows, viz. "1. Mankind, in all ages of the world, have been, and still are prone to superstition. "2. It cannot be denied, but that a part of mankind at least, have believed, and still are believing in miracles and revelation, which are spurious. "3. The facts on which religion is predicated are unlike every thing of which we have any positive knowledge." Under the first …
Hosea Ballou—A Series of Letters In Defence of Divine Revelation
Chrysostom Evades Election to a Bishopric, and Writes his Work on the Priesthood.
About this time several bishoprics were vacant in Syria, and frequent depositions took place with the changing fortunes of orthodoxy and Arianism, and the interference of the court. The attention of the clergy and the people turned to Chrysostom and his friend Basil as suitable candidates for the episcopal office, although they had not the canonical age of thirty. Chrysostom shrunk from the responsibilities and avoided an election by a pious fraud. He apparently assented to an agreement with Basil …
St. Chrysostom—On the Priesthood
The Apostle's Position and Circumstances
PHILIPPIANS i. 12-20 Disloyal "brethren"--Interest of the paragraph--The victory of patience--The Praetorian sentinel--Separatism, and how it was met--St Paul's secret--His "earnest expectation"--"Christ magnified"--"In my body" St Paul has spoken his affectionate greeting to the Philippians, and has opened to them the warm depths of his friendship with them in the Lord. What he feels towards them "in the heart of Christ Jesus," what he prays for them in regard of the growth and fruit of their …
Handley C. G. Moule—Philippian Studies
Epistle Xlv. To Theoctista, Patrician .
To Theoctista, Patrician  . Gregory to Theoctista, &c. We ought to give great thanks to Almighty God, that our most pious and most benignant Emperors have near them kinsfolk of their race, whose life and conversation is such as to give us all great joy. Hence too we should continually pray for these our lords, that their life, with that of all who belong to them, may by the protection of heavenly grace be preserved through long and tranquil times. I have to inform you, however, that I have …
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great
Jesus' First Residence at Capernaum.
^D John II. 12. ^d 12 After this he went down to Capernaum [The site of Capernaum is generally conceded to be marked by the ruins now called Tel-Hum. Jesus is said to have gone "down" because Cana is among the hills, and Capernaum was by the Lake of Galilee, about six hundred feet below sea level], he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples [There is much dispute as to what the New Testament writers mean by the phrase the "brethren of the Lord." This phrase, found in any other than a …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
Indeed in all Spiritual Delights, which Unmarried Women Enjoy...
27. Indeed in all spiritual delights, which unmarried women enjoy, their holy conversation ought also to be with caution; lest haply, though their life be not evil through haughtiness, their report be evil through negligence. Nor are they to be listened to, whether they be holy men or women, when (upon occasion of their neglect in some matter being blamed, through which it comes to pass that they fall into evil suspicion, from which they know that their life is far removed) they say that it is enough …
St. Augustine—On the Good of Widowhood.
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