Paul’s First Missionary Journey by Steve Gallagher (Acts 13, 14)

Photo credit unbound.biola.edu

Read Acts 13 & 14 here – Biblegateway Acts 13, 14

Paul’s conversion probably happened about 37 A.D. and we know he spent 3 years in Damascus or Arabia. We don’t know how much tim the spent in each. He spent about 4-5 years in Tarsus, which would have put him at 44 or 45 A.D. Barnabas comes and gets him and brings him back to Antioch. And, he’s been in Antioch now for awhile, just quietly ministering.

I want to go back to that conversion, because something powerful happened in this man’s life. He was so full of pride and one of those aggressive, abrasive  pushy personalities that is not easily tamed. And you can see a meekness  in this man’s life, even from the earliest days, which is amazing. During this span of time, things have been happening. It’s just that for whatever reason, he didn’t share it with Luke or Luke didn’t feel a need to get it into the story. For instance, in 2 Corinthians 11, there’s a list of things that Paul suffered, like 5 times beaten by the Jews with 39 stripes. There isn’t one single occasion of that in the Book of Acts or any of Paul’s other writings. Five times. Well, when did that happen? It would seem that some of these things happened during that span of time, but we don’t know what exactly went on for those number of years.

But, God is working in Paul’s life. Another thing that we can see is that he has had 3 visions during this span of time: The Damascus Road vision, and then in Acts 22, when he’s recounting his story about his time in Jerusalem when he was hanging around with the apostles there, that the Lord appeared to him and told him that he would be leaving and he would be sent to the Gentiles. So, that was the second one. But, also, in 2 Corinthians 12, he said, „Fourteen years ago, a man went up into the third heaven.” Well, that was in 56 A.D. so that takes us back to 42 A.D. which puts us in Tarsus. So, while he’s in Tarsus, apparently, he had this tremendous experience where he is taken up into the third heavens. Paul thinks that he’s inexpressible, that he couldn’t find the language in human terms to articulate what he saw up there. It was so overwhelming.

But, on the outward look of this man, he goes to Antioch and he’s just one of the guys. He’s not thrusting himself forward there in Antioch, He’s just trying to obey the Lord. You can just get the sense of real meekness in Paul at this early stage. Paul got it early and started ministry  the right way, which is amazing. What I mean by starting ministry the right way, he is being meek. And when God says, „Go,” he goes with all his might, with all his heart, throws himself into doing mercy and living for other people and trying to help other people, and ministering in whatever ways God gives him. But, when God doesn’t tell him to do anything, he just stays quiet, „You want me to take a lowly position here? Ok Lord.” he’s not thrusting himself forward, he’s not driven by ambition, to be somebody or to get anything for himself. He’s just in it for the Lord. So, he starts off the right way and we see the effects still unfolding from that Damascus Road experience. That’s how powerful he was affected. And we see it coming out, not so much in outward fruit, yet, but in the way that he is going on about God’s business.

Now, let’s get into the story in Chapter 13. …. From the first 10 minutes.

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