Full Text for Galatians- Volume 6 - Where does Paul fit into the history of the early church? (Video)

No. 6. >> Hello, my name is Nick and my ministry is in the heart of Los Angeles. I'm aware that many things happened in the 30 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Where does Paul fit into the history of the early church? >>DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.: Thank you for that. Because it's so important to see what a significant part history plays in reading the New Testament particularly the book of Galatians which will be our topic of study later on. There's a lot of discussion about where Paul fits. And the reason for that is because he is a significant figure in the Book of Acts. And you can see that his historical missionary journeys provide a timeline for us into the life of Paul. And into the life of the early church. Paul comes on the scene some time in the 30s. And from that moment on in a sense he is a person who defines the rest of history. However, it is not until his first missionary journey that Paul is understood as being a significant player. Let's look at the Book of Acts for a moment. The first five chapters are centered in Peter. Peter's preaching in Jerusalem alongside of James and john the sons of Zebedee is kind of the significant, you know, center of the church's life. And as you look at the sermons of Peter in Acts 2, 3, 4 and 5, you'll see how his preaching and his presence in Jerusalem is central. We talked about how in Chapters 6, 7 and 8, the preaching of Stephen and then his martyrdom begins to turn the church into different direction. And then of course the conversion of Paul in 9 makes a big significant change in the whole complexion of the early Christian church. But Paul doesn't step on the scene yet. In Acts Chapter 10 we have a very, very significant event. A lot of people don't realize that the founder of the Jewish mission is Peter. Pentecost sermon indicates that very clearly. And this is of course the Lord's doing. It's the Lord who sends the Holy Spirit down upon the church. The spirit of Jesus. It's the one who inspires Peter to preach as he does. But Peter is not only the founder of the Jewish mission. He is also the founder of the Gentile mission. And it's by the Lord's revelation, again, in Acts 10 to Cornelius that the Gentile mission begins. Now, I didn't mention the mission to the Samaritans and in Samaria by Philip in Chapter 8 of Acts. And that's certainly a minor part but it's not insignificant. it's showing what Acts 1:8 says that the mission of the church is going to go from Judea to Samaria to the rest of the world. But it is the Peter who is the founder of both the Jewish and Gentile mission. Chapters 10 and 11 is really centered in this. But then in Chapter 12 as I mentioned before there is this fundamental event, the persecution of Herod Agrippa I. And let me read for you a few verses from that chapter that will give you a sense of why this was a significant moment. I'm reading from Acts Chapter 12 verses 1 to 3. �About that time it says Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword. And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter, also, this was the days of unleavened bread.� Now, look what's happening here. You've got the church in Jerusalem, the big three, Peter, James and John there. This is the time of Passover. So it's a very filled city fill of Jewish pilgrims. The church has really been around for a while now. We're talking about the years probably 41 to 44. This is probably the year 41, beginning of this persecution. And John, the son of Zebedee, one of the big three who were on the mount of transfiguration with Jesus, one of the 12, the first of the 12 to be martyred is killed by a sword. Now, this sent a shock wave through the church. Peter is thrown into prison and you know the rest of the story. How he escapes from prison. He goes to where the apostles are gathered in the house of John, Mark's mother, knocks on the door. The maid sees him. Doesn't open the door. Runs and says Peter is here. They don't believe him. And finally they go back and Peter comes in and everybody is certainly afraid. This is a very, very tenuous time. But here is something very interesting: In Chapter 12 when Peter is in that house and is talking about the persecution, it says very clearly here that this is the last time we hear from Peter, except, except, and this is an important exception for Acts 15 and the Apostolic Council. Now, look at what it says. I'm in Chapter 12 again. Verse 17 and following where Peter is now in the house talking to the apostles. It says but motions to them with his hand to be silent he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. Now, this is important, he says: �Tell these things to James and to the brothers. Then he departed and went to another place.� Tell these things to James and the brothers. Now, this is James, the brother of our Lord, who from this moment on becomes the bishop of Jerusalem. Who the brothers are we think are the other brothers of Jesus. But Peter is in a sense here in Acts 12 handing over the leadership of the church which he was in charge of for these first 12 chapters he's handing over to James and Peter departs to we don't know where and goes to this other place. And we really never hear from Peter again except for the Apostolic Council. Now, this is a defining moment. Peter now leaves the scene. And from this moment on Paul takes over. And this in Chapter 12 is the beginning of the missionary journeys of Paul. Now, the missionary journeys of Paul take place -- there are three of them -- take place in these short bursts. Behind me is a map. And I think we will have a map for you to see where you can trace these journeys. But the first journey are the years 46 to 47. This is described from Acts 13:1 to 14:28. We believe that this journey is the one that preceded the Apostolic Council. It is where Paul first now opens up the Gospel to the Gentiles. Up until this time -- and what I mean by that is from his conversion up until these journeys Paul is essentially probably functioning as a missionary to the Jews. We don't quite know what he did. There are a couple of indications when we get to Galatians. We'll talk about them. He went to a number of different places. But it seems as if he's kind of preparing himself for this great act of being the apostle to the Gentiles. The second missionary journey is much more far flung. Instead of being in the southern part of Asia Minor in the place really essentially where Paul was from, he goes to Europe. He goes to Macedonia. He goes to Athens and Corinth. That's from the years 50 to 54 describe in Acts 15 Verse 36 to Acts 18 Verse 22. That is where he establishes the Gospel clearly in Gentile communities across the empire as far as I said Greece. That is significant. Greece now being Europe. Asia Minor. There's a big difference between those. Especially in that day and age. His third missionary journey is from the year 54 to 58 in which he essentially retraces the steps that he had during his second missionary journey, affirming the places that he had been, perhaps opening up some new missions. But essentially affirming what he did in the second missionary journey. And that is described from Acts 18:23 to Acts 21:15. It is during that time, that third missionary journey, that Paul goes to Jerusalem. And that would have been in the year 58. In Jerusalem he's arrested. He then goes to Caesarea Maritima which is on the coast of the Mediterranean in Israel, a place that was a central Roman outpost, a significant place for leadership there by Herod Agrippa II now. And there's he's in prison for two years. I'll talk about that a little later on. From there he goes to Rome and then perhaps onto Spain and then back to Rome to be martyred in the year 64, 65. Now, just think about this from the year 46 to his martyrdom in 65, that's a little less than 20 years, Paul does three missionary journeys where for all intents and purposes he spreads the Gospel throughout the entire Roman Empire. The letters he wrote were written in the 50s. Galatians I think we're going to see is written in the 40s. But all the other letters are written between 50 and 60. These are letters to all of these churches. What we have in the New Testament was written during this time. The decade of the 50s for all intents and purposes was the most significant time in the church's missionary impulse to get out into the world led by the Apostle Paul and others. So when you look at the history of the early Christian church, except for the first two decades, the last 20 years are essentially the years of the Apostle Paul. And as you read the Book of Acts, Acts 13 to 28, with the exception of the Apostolic Council, Paul is the major figure. Paul is the one that Luke who is the author of Acts features as the significant apostle. Now, we know Peter was certainly alive and well and doing things. But it's not recorded in the Book of Acts. And in a sense here you can see that Peter and the Gentile mission is retreating and Paul and the -- excuse me. Peter and the Jewish mission is retreating. Paul and the Gentile mission is increasing. And those three missionary journeys are the significant events that again are the reason why we are here today as Christians, a as part of the holy Christian church.