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Summary: Paul the Preacher to the Gentiles. (Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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SERMON OUTLINE:

• (1). The Mystery Concealed (vs 1-5)

• (2). The Mystery Revealed (vs 6-9)

• (3).The Mystery Fulfilled (vs 10-11)

SERMON BODY:

Ill:

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!

TRANSITION:

• 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?

Answer:

• 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.

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