Life Of Paul;The Early Years

saul4Since most of my time lately has been devoted to studying and preparing lessons for my youth classes, I have decided to start posting the lessons here. Right now we are studying the life of Paul. I’ve already done two lessons that had such a basic outline when I taught that they wouldn’t be very helpful to anyone. Last Wednesday’s I detailed pretty good and next Wednesdays the same way. I often make seemingly random comments to help jog my memory on something I want to talk about.

I based these on an outline I found that Mark Copeland had done. The original outlines can be found at Executable outlines.com

This is the lesson on the ten years after Paul’s conversion and before he began his first missionary Journey. All bible verses are from the HCSB

Paul’s Early Years Of Service
(36-45 A.D.)
INTRODUCTION
What do we know about Paul?
He persecuted the church
He was converted on the road to Damascus
He was a missionary and preacher.

But Paul became a Christian around 36 AD and it was almost 10 years later in 45 AD when he began his first missionary trip.
So What was Paul doing between his conversion and the time when the Spirit called him to begin
his missionary journeys?

He was preparing………How should we prepare for what God has planned for us?

I. THREE YEARS IN DAMASCUS AND ARABIA (36-39 A.D.)
A. INITIAL PREACHING IN DAMASCUS…

Acts 9:17-22 So Paul is baptised and immediatley begins preaching. Paul went to Damascus to kill Christians and when he got there he tried toconvert more people to Christ and everyone thought that was amazing!

9:17 So Ananias left and entered the house. Then he placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Act 9:18 At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.
Act 9:19 And after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some days.
Act 9:20 Immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: “He is the Son of God.”
Act 9:21 But all who heard him were astounded and said, “Isn’t this the man who, in Jerusalem, was destroying those who called on this name, and then came here for the purpose of taking them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
Act 9:22 But Saul grew more capable, and kept confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that this One is the Messiah.

B. TIME IN ARABIA…
So Paul did not stay in Damascus long before he decided he needed to go to Arabia and share the good news of Christ.
Paul did not stay in Damascus long after his conversion – cf. Gal_1:15-17

Gal 1:15 But when God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by His grace, was pleased
Gal 1:16 to reveal His Son in me, so that I could preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone.
Gal 1:17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus.

He went to Arabia, the desert area east and south of Damascus
We don’t know exactly how long Paul stayed in Damascus or Arabia or, but sometime before three years was up he went back to Damascus to preach before going to Jerusalem –
cf. Gal_1:18

Gal 1:18 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas, and I stayed with him 15 days.

During his tme in Damascus and Arabia we Believe that Paul studied and thought about Jesus- cf. Gal_1:11-12

Gal 1:11 Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not based on a human point of view.
Gal 1:12 For I did not receive it from a human source and I was not taught it, but it came by a revelation from Jesus Christ.

C. RETURN AND ESCAPE FROM DAMASCUS…
So Paul leaves Arabia and heads back to Damascus to preach about Jesus – Gal_1:17
Gal 1:17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus.

[Damascus was the first place Paul preached (Act_26:19-20),(Act 26:20 Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance. ) and the first place he experienced persecution. It would not be the last place for either experience!
The Jewish people, now remember Paul use to be a Jewish religious leader now he is converting people to Christ, so they decided to kill Paul.
Guess What! It didn’t work! – Act_9:23-25
Act 9:23 After many days had passed, the Jews conspired to kill him,
Act 9:24 but their plot became known to Saul. So they were watching the gates day and night intending to kill him,
Acts 9:25 but his disciples took him by night and lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the wall.

Think about that He was put in a basket and in the middle of the night let down from a wall.
He also tells us about this in his letter to the church in Corinth – 2 Corinthians 11:32-33
2Co 11:32 In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to arrest me,
2Co 11:33 so I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

Leaving Damascus, Paul makes his way to Jerusalem the capital for Jewish worship…]

II. FIRST VISIT TO JERUSALEM (39 A.D.)
Do you think the Christian church was happy to see him?
At first, the church is afraid to receive him – Acts 9:26
Act 9:26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to associate with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple.

Barnabas also called Joseph(cf. Acts 4:36) introduces him to the apostles – Acts 9:27;
Act 9:27 Barnabas, however, took him and brought him to the apostles and explained to them how, on the road, Saul had seen the Lord, and that He had talked to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.

a. He saw Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days
b. He also saw James the Lord’s brother Galatians 1:18-19
Gal 1:18 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas, and I stayed with him 15 days.
Gal 1:19 But I didn’t see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.

Many people think James was actually the leader of the Christian Church.

So what did he do in JERUSALEM…
1. He went around preaching in the churches in Jerusalem and makes more people want to kill him -Acts 9:28-29
Act 9:28 Saul was coming and going with them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
Act 9:29 He conversed and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they attempted to kill him.
Hellenists (Grecian Jews) – Foreign born jews

2. But God tells him to go… – cf. Acts 22:17-21
Act 22:17 “After I came back to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple complex, I went into a visionary state
Act 22:18 and saw Him telling me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me!’
Act 22:19 “But I said, ‘Lord, they know that in synagogue after synagogue I had those who believed in You imprisoned and beaten.
Act 22:20 And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving, and I guarded the clothes of those who killed him.’
Act 22:21 “Then He said to me, ‘Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'”

and the other apostles send him to Tarsus – Acts 9:30
Act 9:30 When the brothers found out, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Tarsus does that sound familiar?
[It is evident that Paul has now become a dangerous enemy to his former friends. His testimony concerning the Lord and his own conversion is difficult to answer, and the opposition is willing to do anything to silence him! At this point Paul returns home (Tarsus) and spends…]

III. FIVE YEARS IN SYRIA AND CILICIA (39-43 A.D.)
A. RETURN TO TARSUS…
So Paul is sent back to the place of his birth- there he preaches for about 5 years

B. DEPARTURE FROM TARSUS…
Barnabas who had introduced Peter to the church in Jerusalem goes to Tarsu to get Paul
Act 11:22 Then the report about them reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to travel as far as Antioch.
Act 11:23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with a firm resolve of the heart–
Act 11:24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith–and large numbers of people were added to the Lord.
Act 11:25 Then he went to Tarsus to search for Saul,
Act 11:26 and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers, and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

[So Paul had worked alone up to this time. But with Barnabas Paul begins a series of labors in which he was always accompanied by fellow-workers. Barnabas and Paul go and preach at the already established church in Antioch

B. NEWS FROM JERUSALEM…
They preached in Antioch until they fond out about a famine in Judea, the church at Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas back with relief.
Act 11:27 In those days some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
Act 11:28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine throughout the Roman world. This took place during the time of Claudius.
Act 11:29 So each of the disciples, according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brothers who lived in Judea.
Act 11:30 This they did, sending it to the elders by means of Barnabas and Saul.

Let’s talk about what that means for us today.

V. SECOND VISIT TO JERUSALEM (45 A.D.)
So Paul goes back to Jerusalem to help with relief. Paul and Barnabas join with Barnabas’ Cousin John Mark. John Mark is the man that Barnabas and Paul split over during the first missionary journey Mark wanted to go back to Jerusalem and when you talk about someones relatives it can get ugly. Acts12:25, Colossians 4:10, Acts 13:13; Acts15:37-39
Paul forgave and Mark and Paul did become friends later. 2 Timothy 4:11, Philemon 1:24
As a sidenote Mark also traveled with Peter and wrote the Gospel of Mark (1 Peter 5:13)

At this point Paul returns to Antioch of Syria… and the Holy Spirit sends him on his missionary Journeys
Act 13:1 In the local church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius the Cyrenian, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Act 13:2 As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work that I have called them to.”
Act 13:3 Then, after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.
Act 13:4 Being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they came down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
In “Paul’s Early Years Of Service” (36-45 A.D.), a pattern is established…
Preaching
Persecution
Establishing churches,
And helping those in need

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in
what is least is unjust also in much. – Luke 16:10
In our next study, we will survey Paul’s first missionary journey…

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