Summary: Paul’s sufferings for the Gospel sake.
A branded brother.
Galatians 6:17. 03/07/04
Seldom do I ever use just one verse of scripture to preach a sermon. I would not be able to here if I was not familiar or pretty familiar with the book of Galatians.
Now Paul was being accused of not being an apostle. Some were thinking if Paul was a true apostle then he would have people follow the Jewish law and especially the law of circumcision. And so they were criticizing Paul and persecuting Paul.
Now the verse I have just read is Paul’s answer to them. He said, “From henceforth let no man trouble me for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”
Now do you know what Paul meant by this statement? It meant that Paul had scars on his body; he had been wounded and bruised for the Lord Jesus. He said I bear in my body the marks of the master.
There are about three things I want you to know about this branded brother. First of all notice what we will call THE MAKING OF THE MARK. I want to answer how Paul got the scars on his body.
You know over in Romans I believe chapter 8; Paul talked about those things that could not separate us from the love of God? He says famine; danger, nakedness, sword, tribulation, distress and persecution could not separate us from the love of God. Now the way Paul knew that all of these things could not separate us from the love of God is because he had endured all these things. He wasn’t just using words he was speaking experiential. He knew firsthand that all these things could not separate us from the love of God.
I want you to turn back to second Corinthians Chapter 11: 24 -- 26. When I read this it makes me ashamed to call myself a Christian when I think about what this little man went through for the gospel sake. I doubt that any of us have suffered any for Jesus. We are all well fed, well rested and why we mumble and complain I just cannot understand. We sing those songs and I just wonder how many times we lie in our singing? We sing faith of our fathers we will be true oh God to the till death, and some will not even get to church tonight. You know we talk and sing, but talk is cheap. Talk wasn’t cheap for Paul, he bear the scars for Jesus Christ.
We see not only the making of those marks but also THE MEANING OF THESE MARKS.
Paul said I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. If we had made this statement, we would say, we bear the scars in our body of the Lord Jesus. It would sound more interesting if we would use the word scars.
Paul said I bear in my body the stigmata of Jesus. The word stigmata means brand. We know something about branding as we have watched the Western’s on TV. The Cowboys would brand their cattle to show ownership. In Paul’s day the brand was used for several things. His master to show ownership would brand a slave. The brand would mean this is my property. And when Paul said I bear the stigmata of the Lord Jesus he was saying I am his slave. I have been branded for Jesus. I am not my own. I have been bought with a price.
Now I had to ask myself, am I a bond slave to Jesus? I want to ask you the same question, are you a bond slave to Jesus? Some of our Baptist join churches today, they come waltzing down the isle like they are some prize package and God is so lucky to get me. If you are a bond slave to Jesus you don’t have that kind of attitude.
Back in the days of Alexander the great, the soldiers would brand an A in their hand to show their allegiance to their captain. They were saying we are not ashamed for people to know we are in the army of Alexander the great. Paul was saying I don’t mind you knowing that I am a soldier for Jesus Christ. Paul said in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation.” And I want you to know something else Paul was not a shame to the gospel.
Thirdly, I want you to note THE MESSAGE OF THOSE MARKS.
What does it teach us today? Well it should encourage us to keep on for Jesus. Paul said one time that he gloried in the cross. He had so many things he could have gloried in, his education, his writing, but he gloried in Jesus. He counted all other things nothing compared to his relationship to Jesus. Don’t feel sorry for Paul, for he is looking down feeling sorry for you. Do you know Jesus?