Summary: Paul the Preacher to the Gentiles. (Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
• (1). The Mystery Concealed (vs 1-5)
• (2). The Mystery Revealed (vs 6-9)
• (3).The Mystery Fulfilled (vs 10-11)
Joke - Prison life versus a full-time job
• In prison you spend the majority of your time in an 8’ X 10’ cell.
• At work you spend most of your time in a 6’ X 8’ cubicle.
• In prison you get three meals a day.
• At work you only get a break for one meal and you have to pay for that one.
• In prison you get time off for good behaviour.
• At work you get rewarded for good behaviour with more work.
• In prison a guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
• At work you must carry around a security card and unlock and open all the doors yourself.
• In prison you can watch TV and play games.
• At work you get fired for watching TV and playing games.
• In prison they ball-and-chain you when you go somewhere.
• At work you are just ball-and-chained.
• In prison you get your own toilet.
• At work you have to share.
• In prison they allow your family and friends to visit.
• At work you cannot even speak to your family and friends.
• In prison all expenses are paid by taxpayers, with no work required.
• At work you get to pay all the expenses to go to work;
• And then they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for the prisoners.
• In prison you spend most of your life looking through bars from the inside wanting to get out.
• At work you spend most of your time wanting to get out and inside bars.
• In prison you can join many programs which you can leave at any time.
• At work there are some programs you can never get out of.
• In prison there are wardens who are often sadistic.
• At work we have managers.
Well that may be humorous;
• But let me tell you as someone who has been inside prisons;
• (I might add) - visiting only to take prison Church services)
• Prison is a horrible place;
• And I would want to avoid it at all costs!
• Twice in this letter Paul reminds his readers that he is a prisoner;
• Chapter 3 verse 1 and chapter 4 verse 1.
• And at the close of the letter he calls himself an " ambassador in chains";
• Chapter 6 verse 20.
Question: Why was Paul a prisoner?
Answer: Because he took the good news of the gospel to Gentiles.
• If you read the book of Acts chapters 20-28:
• You will notice that every time Paul preached he upset the Jewish people;
• Joke: I preach and they serve tea at the end of the meeting;
• Paul reached and he caused riots!
• Now because of this message Paul was met by a flurry of opposition.
• (see Acts chapter 22 verses 21-22, chapter 26 verses 22-24, chapter 28 verses 28-29)
• For the sake of peaceful communities that apostle Paul was arrested;
• And for three years he was made a prisoner and held under house arrest.
• Don’t miss that – three very long frustrating years!
• Using his Roman citizenship Paul appealed to Caesar;
• And so he is in prison waiting to be sent to Rome, where he might appeal before Caesar.
Question: What was the message that upset those Jewish listeners?
• The message that upset them was:
• That salvation had come to both Gentiles and Jews;
Question: Why did that message upset them?
Answer: Two reasons.
FIRST: Paul struck at the heart of the Jew’s sense of spiritual privilege.
• They were God’s chosen ones.
• They were the recipients of God’s Law.
• They were the ones through whom God communicated to the world.
• They were his children and not like the ‘Unclean’ Gentiles.
• The very thought;
• That they were no longer the unique people of God aroused their anger!
• And they vented that anger against Paul and his companions.
SECOND: Racial superiority.
• Bigotry injected its poison into their already prideful hearts.
• ill: Prayer prayed every day by Jewish men; “Thank you God you have not made me a Gentile”
• Jews often referred to Gentiles as ‘dogs’ as those who were ‘unclean’.
• And now these Jews are being told that ‘in Christ’ they are equals with Gentiles.
• And equal without any distinctions!
Question: Was God’s message stopped by Paul’s imprisonment?
Answer: Not at all!
• While in prison Paul wrote four letters;
• Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.